What Small Businesses Need to Know About 'Ransomware'

small biz

Businesses around the world are still dealing with the massive fallout from one of the biggest global “ransomware” attacks ever recorded. At least 200,000 organizations in 150 countries had their information tampered with or were completely locked out of their own files in an attempt to seek ransom payments.

However according to BBC analysis, only $38,000 has been paid to hackers as of Monday. But many cyber experts warn that while big businesses reap the biggest cash payment for hackers, a majority of them will go after small businesses first.

“They are easy targets. Employees have less training, especially in IT. Small business owners tend to cut corners in regards to having backup systems in place. They are actually the most exposed to get hacked,” Gene Marks, a small business expert and founder of The Marks Group, a Pennsylvania-based consulting firm, tells FOX Business.

Marks says the number one piece of advice that he tells his clients is that they should immediately subscribed to an online backup service, no matter how small their business is.

“Carbonite, Mozy are the two biggest ones. I know Carbonite is 60 bucks a year and it will back up your files during the day as well as your databases. So, if you get hit—which you probably will—all you have to do is restore your last backup,” Marks adds.

Marks say the worst thing that will happen is that you might lose a few hours or days worth of work but the good thing is that you wouldn’t have to pay a ransom and hackers will eventually move on. Businesses who end up caving and paying a ransom, he says, will mostly make them more susceptible to attacks in the future.

However Charles Tendell, ethical hacker and founder of Hacker’s List tells FOX Business that while small businesses should prepare themselves for an “inevitable attack,” there is still very little they can “do to actually avoid it.”

“But patching their systems immediately and ensuring that they have a solid back up plan will give them an extra layer of protection,” Tendell says.

Additionally he says small businesses should restrict all external media sources like USB drives from being connected, test their existing backups to ensure they are in fact usable, and switch to a cloud solution for storage.