Protect Your Business Against Ransomware

With ransomware attacks in Canada up 360 percent over 2018, it’s something your business needs to consider to protect itself against financial extortion. But don’t fear! SysGen has some tips for you to stop an attack.

What is ransomware?

It’s a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data. For example, the City of Cranbrook was hit by ransomware, costing $120,000 to resolve. The University of Calgary paid $20,000 to get their data back after it was held ransom in 2016.

How is ransomware spread?

There are Phishing Emails, where hackers use carefully crafted emails to trick victims into opening an attachment or clicking a link that contains a malicious file. Then there is Remote Desktop Protocol, where attackers infect victims through remotely accessing machines. Drive-By Downloads from a Compromised Website are malicious downloads that happen without a user’s knowledge when they visit a compromised website. USB and Removable Media allow the ransomware to penetrate an environment through a device.

How to identify a ransomware email?
  1. The sender’s address isn’t correct.
  2. The sender doesn’t seem to know the addressee.
  3. Embedded links have weird URLs.
  4. The language, spelling, and grammar are “off.”
  5. The content is bizarre or unbelievable.
What to do with a suspected malicious email?

Report the email to your IT provider or administrator, mark it as spam and then delete it!

What can you do to protect your business against ransomware?

SysGen follows a three-pronged approach to stop ransomware from spreading.

  1. People: Education is an important part of ransomware prevention. Most ransomware attacks occur because an employee clicks on an unsafe link.
  2. Process: Process is about policy development. By creating procedures, data breaches are mitigated because safeguards are in place for internal checks and balances to occur.
  3. Technology: Technology ensures that the hardware and software work to guard against attacks. For example, using Proofpoint to stop malicious emails from entering an employee’s inbox. Multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of protection on top of your username and password, such as a mobile access code or fingerprint, to ensure only the correct user gains access.

Not sure where to start with cybersecurity in your organization? Find SysGen’s IT support and managed IT services in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Vernon, and Kelowna. Learn more about SysGen’s cloud offering, cybersecurity services, and digital advisory team by clicking here.

Headshot of Michael Silbernagel

Michael Silbernagel, BSc, CCSP, CISSP

Senior Security Analyst

Michael is a lifelong technology enthusiast with over 20 years of industry experience working in the public and private sectors. As the Senior Security Analyst, Michael leads the cybersecurity consulting and incident response (CSIRT) teams at SysGen; he is the creator of SysGen’s Enhanced Security Services (ESS), our holistic and comprehensive cybersecurity offering that focuses on people, technology, policy, and process.