Small-to-Medium Businesses the Primary Target for CryptoWall, TorrentLocker & Other Ransomware

warningAttention, business owners!

Ransomware creators have shifted their focus away from consumers and are now targeting small-to-medium businesses. It’s no surprise as to why, either: SMBs make the perfect targets since they often have lax IT security, highly-valuable data & a budget to pay the costly ransom fee.

It’s far too easy for a cyberthief to send out a malicious email and have an unwitting employee click an embedded link, or download an attached file that ends with a ransomware infection. Critical business documents and files are encrypted, and the only way to retrieve them is to pay the ransom or restore from backup. If there’s no backup solution in place – which is often the case for small businesses – then the company is forced to accept the data loss or pony up the ransom and pray for the best.

It’s a story that plays out entirely too often in the business-world, according to statistics from TrendMicro.

Both CryptoWall and TorrentLocker are two pieces of ransomware that remain prevalent today and have been very successful in extorting money from SMBs.

Between June and July, a whopping 67% of users that made the mistake of clicking on malicious links in CryptoWall-related emails were from the SMB sector. Enterprise users made up another 16.95%.

SMB users also accounted for 46.36% of TorrentLocker’s malicious link activity from June to August.

The high CTR stems from the fact that the spam emails spreading the ransomware are sent in the early AM (catching folks while they’re at work) and arrive disguised as resumes, customer orders, passport scans or some important notice of some sort.

We’ve been contacted by a number of businesses that have been hit by ransomware, and we cannot stress enough how crucial it is that businesses take the necessary steps to protect their data.

How Can Small-to-Medium Businesses Protect their Data from Ransomware?

Despite the high-risk, it doesn’t take too much for businesses to protect their data from being taken hostage by cybercriminals.

  • Utilize a good spam-filter to minimize the chances of you or your employees coming face-to-face with spam laced with malicious links or file attachments configured to infect office computers with CryptoWall, TorrentLocker, or any other trending ransomware.
  • Keep the operating system and 3rd-party software up-to-date with the latest updates and security patches from their respected vendors. Adobe Reader appears to be a common weakpoint in a handful of infections that we’ve seen.
  • Always run antivirus and scan any downloaded files. This can keep you from being infected by known ransomware variants and other malware that may download and install ransomware.
  • Backup your data! This is by far the most important as it will give you the means to restore your organization’s valuable data in the event of a ransomware infection, or any other IT disaster.

Do you need help putting the necessary safeguards in place to protect your company’s data? We offer an assortment of IT services, including managed antivirus, spam filtering solutions, robust backup options and more. Call us at 858-268-4774 or contact us online.

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