When it comes to computers, we never really stop to think about how much we depend on them. But what if your access to that information was cut off? Customer accounts, payment information, inventory—all data you rely upon and often need at a moment’s notice. There’s a new disturbing trend of hackers intentionally blocking and holding company information hostage.
Here’s the scenario
A business offers its customers access to a proprietary system to help track their orders. Suddenly, customers begin calling, saying they can’t get their information. The company discovers a ransomware attack encrypted the data, and the hacker is demanding $125,000 to release the files. The company doesn’t have data extortion coverage and pays the hacker directly, hoping the hacker will follow through and decrypt their customers’ information. They also have to deal with a damaged reputation and tough customer questions about their data security.
How to protect your data
Protection is possible. Front-end data security makes it harder for a hacker to get in. Other security and data backup upgrades might also limit the damages. In addition, data extortion coverage helps provide extra peace of mind.
There are other things you can do to help protect your business and your customers’ valuable information. Take a closer look at what you store and:
- Identify sensitive data: Look for Social Security and driver’s license numbers, as well as any health and financial information.
- Note where it’s located: Identify whether it’s electronic or on paper, how it’s used, and whether you really need to collect it or store it. If the information isn’t vital, consider not asking for it or deleting it immediately after any required use.
- Back up data: Ensure any data critical to your company’s existence is secured and copied to a separate storage site.
- Ask an expert: Have a software/hardware security expert check your system for strong encryption and authorization protocols.
- Immunize your system: Make sure your antivirus package is current and able to block attacks.
- Educate employees: Teach workers to recognize and delete potential phishing scam emails.
- Power-up passwords: Require strong user passwords and regular resets to toughen security.
- Avoid future problems: If you meet an extortion demand, scan your database to make sure other malware hasn’t been attached that could allow future attacks.
We want to help you protect your business by providing the information and resources you need to help prevent losses before they happen. Contact your Hortica representative and we’ll have a conversation about protecting your critical data.
Learn more about protecting your business, check out the Hortica Resources section.
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