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What business women need to know about ransomware

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When you’re a busy entrepreneur or executive, it’s easy to concentrate on all the most urgent things on your to-do list each week and push important but non-urgent items back until later.

However, when it comes to cybersecurity, no matter how flat out your schedule may be, this is something you need to address. In particular, a big issue currently affecting many businesses is ransomware. Here is what you need to know about this problem.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is the name of a specific type of computer malware that’s malicious and designed to corrupt a victim’s device surreptitiously. Usually ransomware gets onto a computer by way of someone opening a dodgy email, clicking on a virus-laden link, or through a hacker finding another way into a system.

Once ransomware is installed, it takes over a tech tool and enables hackers to lock owners out of their own systems or encrypt files, and thereby deny people access to data. Cybercriminals hold this information to ransom and instruct victims to pay money if they want the password to unlock their system or files. Hackers ask for a digital ransom amount to be deposited into an account.

While most cybercriminals hold data for ransom in this way, some also work slightly differently. Instead, they steal sensitive details from files they find on computers, and then tell owners they’ll release the information to the public unless a ransom is paid. This data might be compromising, or relate to trade secrets, for instance.

As a result of these serious threats, it’s imperative that business owners take steps to keep their organizational and personal details safe from harm. Here are some ways you can go about this:

Install security software

One of the best ways to stay safe is to utilize some of the excellent security software on the market. Don’t just go with a simple free product or the first thing you find, though. It’s necessary to choose comprehensive network security protection that will guard against a variety of threats.

Select software that specifically protects users from ransomware and that will be able to alert you to intrusions in your system in real time. Plus, top options protect your privacy when you’re browsing and buying online; block dangerous emails, attachments, websites, etc. from posing a threat; plug vulnerabilities as they arise in your network; and identify data-stealing applications.

It’s also helpful to use a firewall on each of your computers. Firewalls are beneficial because they provide an extra layer of security for hackers to have to get through. They’re particularly designed to stop people from using an internet connection to break into your systems. Use the firewall that comes pre-installed on your device or purchase a third-party product.

Put proper passwords in place

Password protection may sound simple and obvious, but many people get caught out with a ransomware attack because they don’t take this factor seriously enough. To stay safe, put proper, hard-to-crack codes on each device you and your team use, as well as on the various accounts you login to online. Plus, also secure your Wi-Fi routers with passwords.

Quality codes are at least eight characters long. They contain a mixture of elements, such as upper-case and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers. Make sure you and your staff never choose passwords that relate to the business name, address, logo, etc., or that have anything to do with information you post publicly online, such as on social media sites.

The team at FindReviews also suggests using a secure password manager. There are a number of free options out there, but paid password managers will ultimately provide the highest level of security.

Update software regularly

Another important step is updating all the software you use on devices. Developers release new versions of their programs anytime they spot a security gap that needs to be plugged, so hackers can’t take advantage. If you don’t run the newest options, you’re leaving yourself and your firm more vulnerable to a ransomware attack.

Set up updates to install automatically as soon as they’re available. This should be for a variety of programs, too, such as operating systems, browsers, plugins, apps, games, firewalls, security software, and other tools.

Back Up data daily

Back up data, too. When you back up data externally, say to the cloud, on a daily basis, you know that if you ever do get your systems locked or information stolen by a hacker, you have access to the details somewhere else. In turn, you won’t have to pay a ransom or deal with so much downtime.

You’ll still need to investigate how a cybercriminal gained access and do what you must to address this security issue, but at least you’ll be able to enjoy “business as usual” while this process happens.

Ransomware is a threat that’s not going away anytime soon. However, you can be proactive in protecting your business and your interests from this kind of threat. It may take a little extra time and money to get this done, but the outlay will be well worth it if you never have to deal with a ransomware attack.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best.We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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