A Ransomware Attack on a Local Business Reminds Us of the Importance of Cybersecurity
A recent story ran in the Albany Business Review that talked about a local company, Dimension Fabricators, and how they were hit with a ransomware attack. As they were set to open, employees had trouble logging onto their computers and employees were asked to pay an amount of money (a ransom) in Bitcoin. Their systems were essentially paralyzed until the ransom was paid.
According to the Albany Business Review, executives from Dimension Fabrics quickly reached out to an external IT firm that they contract with. The IT firm was able to get their accounting software up and running and determine that their backup was good enough to not lose too much material. This took about eight hours, one whole day’s work. Overall, the firm needed to replace two computers, purchase hardware and software to protect against future cyber-attacks and pay a bill to their IT staff. Luckily, the business was able to continue on, albeit with a few hiccups, after the ransomware attack.
Ransomware is a well-known type of malicious software. It restricts access to an infected machine, typically by encrypting files on the hard drive, and then demands payment of a ransom in exchange for the key to decrypt the data. Rose & Kiernan, Inc. uses Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services for a large number of our clients. In their 2019 Breach Briefing, they cite that healthcare, financial services and professional services are the industries most impacted by ransomware. However, manufacturers like Dimension Fabricators can also be attacked with ransomware, causing a firm to have to stop production for a period of time.
No organization is immune from the risk of an attack – cyber criminals attack organizations across all industries and sizes. Earlier this year, the City of Albany was hit with a ransomware attack. It is important as an organization to understand risk and do whatever possible to mitigate that risk.
The top ways to prevent ransomware, according to Beazley, are as follows:
- Train (and repeatedly train) employees to recognize phishing attacks.
- Segment your backups to prevent infection and spread of malware.
- Lock down remote desktop protocol (RDP) ports, if possible, or enable multi-factor authentication on the port.
- For any remote connection to a network, require multi-factor authentication (a password and a second factor such as a security code) to make it more difficult for hackers to gain access.
- Allow automatic patching on OS and internet browsers and remember to stay on top of anti-virus updates.
And of course, cybersecurity insurance is important and recommended, as it helps a business recover from a ransomware attack, security breach or other cyber event.