AZCOMP Technologies October 2018

(855) 455-5035 www.azcomp.com

OCTOBER 2018

Empowering Small Practices to Deliver the Best Care

RANSOMWARE CAN TAKE DOWN A CITY And Your Business, If You’re Not Careful

If there was an award for “Cyberattack of the Year,” 2018’s would have to go to ransomware. According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, the use of ransomware has exploded, while other attacks like malware and hacking breaches have decreased. With ransomware increasing in popularity, it’s best to be prepared to defend against and counter these attacks. Otherwise, you could end up with egg on your face. That’s exactly what happened to the city of Atlanta in March of this year, when their network was penetrated by a ransomware attack demanding $50,000 in Bitcoin. Not long after the ransomware attack hit, hackers took down the

secured bank or a dozen smaller ones that are much easier to hit? The choice is pretty obvious, especially when the rewards can be greater from picking off the easy targets. Now that you know the nature of the threat, it’s time to discuss how you can stop it. Proper protection involves robust defense mechanisms, diligent employee training, and plenty of precaution. On the defense side, strong antivirus software and firewalls will serve as a deterrent to hackers. Only the most advanced cybercriminals are up for a challenge. The vast majority will move on to their next target if they encounter any resistance.

payment portal, meaning the city couldn’t pay the ransom if they wanted to. Instead, they were left to restore basic functions of city programs on their own. In just two short weeks, the breach had cost the city $2.6 million. Even worse, that figure is expected to rise to near $10 million by the end of the year. Ransomware attacks are aimed at countless small businesses every day, so you need to be on the lookout, even if you’re not a major corporation or in one of

There’s no impenetrable defense, however, because the vast majority of ransomware attacks are the result of phishing emails sent to employees. It’s very important to remind your employees to never click on unsolicited links found in emails, text messages, or any other form of digital communication. You can even text your team with mock phishing emails and see who takes the bait. Poorly trained staff can leave you vulnerable, but well-trained staff will be a valuable weapon in your protection arsenal. If an attack does happen, you’ll want to have up-to-date, working backups on hand. Ransomware doesn’t corrupt your data; it just locks you out of it. The assailants are hoping you

“One of the reasons ransomware attacks are so popular is that they allow cybercriminals to cast a wide net. The same piece of software can be sent to dozens of unsuspecting companies, maybe hiding in a phishing email or social media post, infecting the computer of anyone who clicks.”

the 10 biggest cities in the country. One of the reasons ransomware attacks are so popular is that they allow cybercriminals to cast a wide net. The same piece of software can be sent to dozens of unsuspecting companies, maybe hiding in a phishing email or social media post, infecting the computer of anyone who clicks. While the biggest cases will always make the headlines, hackers’ favorite targets are small businesses with minimal protection — people who have no other option than to pay the ransom. Think about it this way: Would a thief rather rob one, giant, heavily

have no option but to pay to get your information back. When you have a set of backups ready to go, you won’t even have to entertain that possibility. Above all, you need a dedicated team of professionals monitoring your network and watching out for risks 24/7. Managed IT services, like the kind we provide at AZCOMP, work to seal up all the holes in your digital security. And if a problem does arise, you can bet we’ll tackle it head-on. - Byron Adams

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