By Jewelers Mutual Group
With the rise of cyber-attacks, you can never be too careful when protecting your digital information. As technology continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, criminals are developing tactics to target your assets without ever stepping foot inside your business.
Ransomware is a type of virus that attaches itself to a harmless looking email or website, often from a legitimate-looking company. Once opened or activated, the virus infects the computer’s files with strong encryption that requires a “secret code” to have the encryption removed.
Then, a ransom note appears on your screen, typically demanding a certain amount of money, with no guarantee the hackers will provide the promised code in return. If they do, there’s no guarantee the code will unlock or release your files.
Follow these tips to protect yourself against ransomware attacks.
- Only use secured wireless providers to gain internet access and encrypt your router to protect your connection. Limit your encrypted Wi-Fi connection to employees only. If you allow wireless access to your customers, make sure it is through a “guest network” with different login credentials.
- Computers should be frequently checked with anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software. Perform frequent scans on your systems to ensure no hacking attempts have been made. Also run frequent software updates, as many software vendors publish security updates frequently.
- Run ad-blocking applications. Pop-ups and free downloads are common carriers of viruses. Configure your browser settings to disable pop-ups.
- Limit employee access to data and limit authority to install software. Employees should only be given access to specific data systems required to do their job and shouldn’t be able to install software without permission.
- Properly dispose of sensitive information by destroying or wiping hard drives. Consider having a locked box for physical items that need to be shredded. Contact a local electronic company to discuss options for safely disposing of electronics.
- Back-up your information. Have a copy of your files backed up and stored offsite in a secure location. If the event that you do experience a catastrophe, you will be able to recover your information safely and efficiently.
- Create a plan. Train your employees on proper protocol to protect your electronic information and data systems. Have frequent team meetings to review safety processes to keep security at the forefront of your employees’ minds
If your business experiences a ransomware attack, contact law enforcement immediately so they can record any hacking incident. If customer data is lost, such as credit card details, you will need to notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Data Breach and Cyber-Related Coverage
Find an experienced Jewelers Mutual agent in your area and ask about protecting your business against ransomware and other risks.