Ransomware becoming the #1 online threat to small businesses Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Ransomware allows a cybercriminal to access a network and lock the owner out of the company’s system. It may sound like something out of a sci-fi film, but it is very real and is becoming more common. Businesses owners, regardless of size, should take steps to prevent their data from being compromised.

Most of us may be familiar with a well-known ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline in spring of this year. The incident shut down the entire pipeline, which carries nearly half of the fuel used along the East Coast of the US. The company paid approximately $5 million in ransom to the attackers (paid in cryptocurrency) to restore its access to the pipeline operation.

How did hackers get access to a major fuel pipeline and shut it down? They were able to learn a dormant username and password. Multifactor authentication was not enabled, so one old password was all they needed to gain access and take the pipeline operation hostage for millions of dollars.

But ransomware occurs more frequently on a smaller scale. Small towns, library systems, and other organizations have fallen victim to ransomware attacks in recent years. Even small and medium businesses are at risk. Experts say that ransomware is easily the number one cyber threat to small businesses. One in five companies have reported ransomware attacks in the last year, and ransomware incidents have grown over 400% over last year, according to one report.

Small businesses have become an attractive target for ransomware attackers. By learning a password for someone who has access to financial data, they can easily infiltrate a small business and hold their data for ransom. It’s easier than trying to infiltrate large companies who might have more resources for cybersecurity.

Recovering from ransomware is costly, whether ransom is paid or not. There are no guarantees that paying ransom will make the scammers return full access. Rebuilding data can take time and money, and it also comes at the cost your company’s reputation.

Take the time to invest in some security measures for your company, and train employees to be always be on the lookout for cyber threats—especially email compromise threats.

Further reading:

Datto’s Global State of the Channel: Ransomware Report

Accenture 2021 Cyber threat intelligence report

FBI's Ransomware and what to do about it fact sheet

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now:
What is phishing?
Be on the lookout for email spoofing

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

A strong password is not enough

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