In 2015 alone, ransomware creators gained almost $24 million from victims. Entities affected by the CryptoWall ransomware, which was discovered in January 2015, have suffered losses of more than $325 million. It’s crystal clear ransomware can cost you a lot more than just your important files.

Diligence is key for avoiding a catastrophic loss of your data, but there are weaknesses that can be exploited in businesses and governments, even those that do prepare for cyberattacks.

5 steps you can take to protect yourself and your business:

1. Back up EVERYTHING!

It only takes one devastating ransomware attack (or one instance of losing something important that you forgot to backup) to realise how important it is to make and keep copies of everything.

For companies, backing up critical data daily is a good rule of thumb.

One company lost 14 years’ worth of data in a ransomware attack, but they didn’t have to pay dearly to retrieve the information because they’d kept everything separately on the cloud. It’s good practice to back-up your data in multiple places so cyber attackers don’t have access to all of it through your desktop.

2. Don’t open suspicious emails or links

Email is an open door; messages and links can walk right in from anywhere. If something looks suspicious or contains an odd link, just don’t even bother opening it.

“Malvertising” – another method that ransomware hackers use to infect systems – is often perpetuated through email. In this technique, malware is embedded in ads for large companies and, as internet users click on the ads, the nefarious malware makes its way into their computers.

One of the best ways to avoid email-based attacks is to use your intuition.

HOT TIP: Don’t open messages that look suspicious!

3. Educate your staff

Educated employees are an excellent defence against ransomware attacks. New hires and current employees should be instructed to be careful with email, regardless of their department or their roles.

As an extra layer of protection, businesses can designate someone who is educated in ransomware to be in charge of downloading new programs. This will reduce the likelihood that an employee accidentally downloads something sinister that compromises security.

4. Use antivirus software

There are all kinds of antivirus software on the market to keep your systems safe and prevent your office from becoming the next victim of a cyber attack.

This software works by comparing programs with known viruses, malware and worms to see if there are any matches. Then it performs other types of checks to scan for tell-tale signs of destructive programs.

Consult a professional if you have questions about what software will be best for your office.

5. Create strong passwords

It’s often tempting to use the same password for everything on your computer, but this is another risky behaviour that ransomware can exploit.

Create strong passwords by varying your mix of numbers and characters, using symbols and mixing capitalised and lowercase letters.

QUICK TIP: Don’t take chances by using the same password for multiple portals.

There is no way to guard yourself 100 per cent against ransomware attacks, but staying on top of recent ransomware issues and using the tips above to secure yourself is a great starting point.

Protect your business from ransomware

Don’t let ransomware kill your business, contact us at XBC Business Technology today and let’s talk about how we can safeguard your business.

Call us today on 1300 170 491 or email