As the owner of a public relations agency, I – and anyone else in the field – knows there are certain things that will automatically damage a company’s reputation. A tone-deaf advertisement tying a soft drink to political activism? Check. An airline physically abusing a passenger? That’ll do it. These are things that, while unfortunate, could have been predicted and ultimately prevented. On the other hand, a cyber attack is much more difficult to prevent and can do just as much (if not more) reputation damage.
A cyber attack is the purposeful exploitation of computer systems and networks, and there are many different techniques cybercriminals use to carry out these vicious attacks. One of the most insidious types of malware cybercriminals rely on today is called ransomware, and every business owner should be aware of the damage this kind of attack can do. Beyond the financial cost of hiring a team of experts to come in and mitigate the ransomware damage, the impact it can have on your company’s reputation is substantial. Even though these attacks can happen to virtually any business, having to tell customers and clients that their information could be at risk is embarrassing – nobody wants to have to admit their system was compromised.
Ransomware is a type of malware that cyber criminals use to block access to a computer system and its files until the victim pays a ransom. This essentially halts all daily operations that require any type of online activity, which creates a huge amount of work to be done whenever the virus is removed. According to the FBI, ransomware attacks cost victims $209 million in the first three months of 2016, and they don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Unfortunately, many small businesses are ill-equipped to handle a ransomware attack.
A recent survey commissioned by MonsterCloud, a leader in managed cybersecurity services, found that only 15 percent of small businesses know that ransomware exists and have taken precautionary steps to prevent an attack, compared to 100 percent of large enterprises and 91 percent of mid-sized companies. Furthermore, just 17 percent of small businesses have an in-house dedicated IT personnel, which is critical for handling any type of cyber attack – especially ransomware…
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