Ransomware scams on the increase

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2015 saw an almost 170 per cent increase in the number of businesses across the globe that reported being the target of ransomware scams, according to a report from Intel Security. And UK businesses are among some of the most targeted in Europe. In fact security firm Bitdefender identified that last year the UK received nearly 1 in 10 of all ransomware-infected emails globally.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that uses encryption to lock users out of digital files until they pay a monetary ransom for a ‘key’. Unable to access vital information, businesses are increasingly opting to pay the online extortionists rather than report the crime, according to the Financial Times. But, there is no guarantee that access to the files will be granted once the ransom has been paid. Therefore, the government is encouraging users to report ransomware attacks to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.

What can you do?

Although it is nearly impossible to plug all the potential gaps in your business’ cyber security, you don’t want to make it easy for cyber criminals to access your information. Establishing a robust cyber security programme is therefore increasingly important. While your business’ cyber security programme will be unique to your business, you will want to consider the following to protect against ransomware:

  • Installing security software and ensuring it is always up to date to protect against new threats.
  • Ensuring that all the software on your system is current, including browsers, the operating system and any plug-ins. One of the most common ransomware exposures is software vulnerability.

Having a robust risk management strategy is of course essential, but these days you also need to consider cyber protection as part of your insurance programme. Not only can this type of cover help protect you for the financial loss, but also help you cope with any reputational damage.

Source: Zywave Cyber Risks & Liabilities May/June 2016

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About the author

Passionate about all things marketing. Louise is a chartered marketer who believes in a customer-focused approach to business.