4 Dangerous Ransomware Myths Proven False

Ransomware is one of the most pervasive and dangerous forms of malware or computer virus. Not only is it dangerous for individual desktops and mobile devices, but it can be positively catastrophic for businesses of all sizes.

A ransomware attack occurs when a virus installs itself on a device, like a desktop or phone. It finds and encrypts sensitive data or locks down the device completely unless a ransom is paid, usually in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

Unfortunately, many business owners believe that they are safe from ransomware, or believe other harmful myths about this digital threat. Today, we’ll bust four myths about ransomware so you’re better equipped to protect yourself and your business in the future.  

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Myth 1 – Ransomware Attackers Only Target Big Companies

Many small to mid-sized business owners erroneously believe that their enterprises are safe from ransomware attacks. They think ransomware cybercriminals only target big businesses with tons of customers and lots of extra money in the bank. This is not true in the slightest.

In truth, most ransomware attackers don’t know the identities of their victims. They send out ransomware attacks, such as phishing emails, rather indiscriminately. If they get anyone to install the virus on a computer terminal, they’ve succeeded. Most individuals don’t know what to do, and will pay the ransom out of desperation.

According to a Cybersecurity Special Report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and RSM, 23% of middle-market company executives reported at least ransomware ransom or attack in 2022. This demonstrates how any brand can be vulnerable to ransomware attacks, not just big businesses.

If you think your small business is safe just because you’ve been fortunate enough not to run into a ransomware attack yet, think again. Sooner or later, you and your employees will know what to do when you’re targeted (albeit blindly) by a ransomware-armed cybercriminal.

Myth 2 – Paying a Ransom Demand is Safer

By nature, each ransomware virus demands a ransom from its victim. Some business owners and individuals think that paying the ransom demand is safer, especially if the ransom message says that the criminal will delete sensitive data or expose sensitive files if payments aren’t made ASAP.

In truth, you should never pay a ransom demand if a device is infected with a ransomware virus. Ransomware creators can’t be trusted – they’re criminals, after all. More importantly, there’s nothing stopping those criminals from carrying out whatever ill ideas they have in mind after you fork over the cash.

It’s a much better idea to work with incident response or IR cybersecurity specialists. They can deal with ransomware attacks, evaluate the situation, and help you get access to sensitive data quickly without having to pay the bad actors. Even if paying the ransom is the right move, you should only do it with a cybersecurity negotiator on your team.

Whatever you do, don’t keep a ransomware attack to yourself. Inform your employees or your cybersecurity specialists so the proper response can begin at the earliest opportunity.  

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Myth 3 – Antivirus Will Always Keep You Safe

Strong antivirus software is certainly a great tool in your overall digital defense toolkit. However, it won’t universally keep yourself or your company safe from ransomware and other malware attacks.

The truth is that digital defenses must constantly keep up with newly evolving viruses and cyber attack threat vectors. Even the best antivirus firewall can have gaps in its armor from time to time. Therefore, a new ransomware virus that hasn’t been detected and studied before might slip through and attack your business’s sensitive files.

Furthermore, many ransomware attacks occur through antivirus software because of employee negligence. One of the most common vectors for ransomware is a phishing email, which is a scam email that installs a virus onto a user terminal when it is opened.

Therefore, you can’t just rely on antivirus to keep your enterprise safe. You must also:

  • Use regular cloud security monitoring for your sensitive files. Such monitoring and alert you as soon as a cyber breach is detected
  • Train your employees to recognize and avoid ransomware threats. For instance, teaching your employees basic cyber hygiene skills, like not opening suspicious-looking emails, can do wonders to reduce the vulnerability of your business to ransomware attacks

Myth 4 – Backups Are Enough to Protect Against Ransomware

It might be tempting to think that backing up your sensitive data is enough to protect you if the worst comes to pass if your business crashes with a ransomware attack. However, backups can’t always be relied upon to save the day, nor can they always protect your brand from reputational damage amongst your customers.

In fact, many cybercriminals now have advanced malicious tactics to compromise backup files, locking them down or deleting them if ransomware victims don’t pay the fines.

So-called double extortion attacks involve cybercriminals encrypting and stealing data at the same time. So even if you do have a backup of key data ready to go, the criminals can still leak that sensitive data unless you pay the demanded ransom.

Given these threats, you shouldn’t merely rely on backups to protect your business and its reputation. Instead, keep the above tips in mind – such as training your employees and hiring cybersecurity specialists – to shore up your business’s digital defenses as much as possible.  

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Contact LI Tech for Assistance

As you can see, ransomware is far more dangerous than you may have initially realized. Even though some of your ideas about ransomware have been busted, remember that you can protect your business and your personal files by working with the right security partners.

At LI Tech, our capable specialists can draw up a list of security best practices for you and your employees to follow. We also offer a spread of managed cloud security services. Contact us today to see how we can keep you safe from ransomware.

What Is Data Protection? Why It’s Important and Why Cybersecurity Can’t Be Separate

A typical data breach in the United States costs around $9.44 million—more than twice the global average. Healthcare is the top sector affected by pricey data breaches, but any business can be severely affected. For Long Island and NYC business owners, data protection and cybersecurity should be a top concern. A data breach can threaten your profits, your reputation, your employees and your customers. It can also put your enterprise at legal risk.

If you’re wondering exactly what data protection entails – and why you should make it a priority – this article will answer some of your questions. It can be hard to distinguish between data protection and cybersecurity measures, since the two are so intertwined. Some people view cybersecurity as a technical field, and data security as more direct safeguarding measures. But this view is an oversimplification of both. We’ll explore the relationship between data protection and cybersecurity, and we’ll also take a look at how LI Tech Solutions can help you shield your business from harm.

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What Is Data Protection?

Data protection is the act of shielding your information from unwanted access. You need to take steps to make sure sensitive information isn’t altered or destroyed—or leaked to unauthorized parties. LI Tech Solutions is the best cybersecurity company in Long Island, NYC. So naturally, we handle all aspects of data protection, including:

  • Backup solutions, such as cloud and on-site architecture and centralized real-time dashboards
  • Disaster recovery solutions including end-to-end encryption

What Is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a more generalized term that describes the “art” of protecting digital networks, devices and data – and ensuring its privacy and accessibility. Malware, hacking, and the exploitation of programming errors that cause vulnerabilities are just a few of the threats that cybersecurity experts have to combat.

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Why Data Protection Is So Crucial for Businesses

At LI Tech Solutions, we understand that if disaster or sabotage strikes your business, your quick response is critical. Your data doesn’t just sit motionless. It travels from one point to another, and it’s exposed to multiple vulnerabilities along the way. There’s no such thing as data that’s free from any possible threat.

These are some primary reasons you should invest in state-of-the-art data protection for your enterprise.

Keep employee and client data confidential

You probably have access to sensitive data about your team members and customers alike. Personally identifiable information is a broad category that includes direct identifiers and quasi-identifiers. In other words, it refers to data that can be used on its own to identify a person, or data that can be combined with other bits of information to build an identity.

Direct identifiers include information such as:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Driver’s licenses
  • First and last names

Four types of indirect identifiers include:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Birth date
  • Zip code

When you allow unauthorized users to access any personal information, you expose employees and/or customers to identity theft, fraud, and other serious threats.

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Stay in compliance with regulatory bodies

The GDPR and CCPA are designed to protect individuals and consumers from harm by regulating entities that access and store their data. The GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, applies to all businesses that conduct any transactions within the EU. The CCPA, or California Consumer Privacy Act, safeguards consumers’ rights to control their own personal information. Failure to comply with regulatory bodies that govern your business can lead to legal action and fees: up to $7500 per violation of the CCPA, and a wide range of penalties for violating the GDPR. Clearly, prevention is the best approach.

Build consumer and market trust

A data breach can harm your brand’s value and reputation in ways that are hard to repair. Today’s consumers care more about whether their personal information is protected than ever before. If your clients are involved in a data breach, they’ll probably stop giving you their business. Investors are also likely to shy away from companies with a reputation for poor security measures.

Protect your intellectual property

Businesses in the United States lose between $180 billion and $540 billion every year when their trade secrets are stolen. On top of that, they’re often subject to hefty legal fees as they seek to rebuild after the damage caused by a data breach. When you lose control of the things that make your business unique, it can be hard to measure the financial losses involved.

Why Data Protection and Cybersecurity Go Hand in Hand

Business owners often make the mistake of handling data protection and cybersecurity as two separate entities. However, this approach is costly since it involves multiple teams – and it’s also not the most effective way to ward off threats. Let’s examine a few key reasons.

Threats are complex and evolving

As technology evolves, digital threats become more sophisticated to keep pace. Those with malicious intent will stop at nothing to gain access to your data, and their skill sets are more comprehensive than ever. To stop them, you need a multi-layered approach that integrates data protection and cybersecurity skills.

Cybercriminals can bypass data protection measures

Data protection solutions are effective for what they’re designed to do. But cybercriminals can sometimes find a way around them. For example, MFA (multi-factor authentication) might protect your devices from access by non-employees. But cybercriminals can conduct a brute force attack to simply figure out both points of authentication through trial and error.

Data protection skills are necessary when cybercrime strikes

After a major cybersecurity breach, your top priority is making your data secure again. This does mean implementing measures that directly address the source of the breach. But it also means taking a comprehensive approach and revisiting all your data protection policies to safeguard against the next attack.

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How to Approach Data Protection and Cybersecurity Together

We’ve got a few tips that can help you form an integrated approach to protect your business.

Maintain a company-wide culture of data safety

When data is handled carelessly, hackers can more easily gain access to your systems. The best way to safeguard your information is to have your data protection and cybersecurity specialists work together – and to frequently educate your entire team about proper procedures.

Ultimately, humans are often the vulnerable points in an organization that bad actors will exploit to access sensitive data. Everyone in your organization – not just your security specialists – is responsible to keep your information safe.

Opt for end-to-end solutions

An end-to-end solution is one that provides a complete answer to a problem, without having to rely on external sources. LI Tech Solutions offers end-to-end services that protect your data from start to finish, anticipating and addressing threats on all fronts.

Partner with specialists who have multiple skills to offer

Why hire a team of data protection specialists if they can’t handle other cybersecurity needs? Why invest in a cybersecurity partnership if you’ll need to find someone else to handle your data protection? If Long Island government systems are vulnerable to crippling cyberattacks, it’s clear that cybercrime is a significant threat to local businesses, too. Ultimately, the best cybersecurity company in Long Island, NYC will bring a comprehensive skill set to the table. 

Handle All Your Data Protection and Cybersecurity Needs with LI Technology Solutions

As the best MSP on Long Island, LI Tech Solutions offers all the services you need – without the burden of maintaining full-time IT staff. Is it time to outsource your IT support needs to the experts? Call 516.210.6400 today and ask for a free consultation and technology assessment!

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Data Backup Is Not Enough, You Also Need Data Protection

The need to back up data has been around since floppy disks. Data loss happens due to viruses, hard drive crashes, and other mishaps. Most people using any type of technology have experienced data loss at least once.

There are about 140,000 hard drive crashes in the US weekly. Every five years, 20% of SMBs suffer data loss due to a major disaster. This has helped to drive a robust cloud backup market that continues to grow.

But one thing that’s changed with data backup in the last few years is security. Simply backing up data so you don’t lose it, isn’t enough anymore. Backing up has morphed into data protection.

What does this mean?

It means that backups need more cybersecurity protection. They face threats such as sleeper ransomware and supply chain attacks. Cloud-based backup has the benefit of being convenient, accessible, and effective. But there is also a need for certain security considerations with an online service.

Companies need to consider data protection when planning a backup and recovery strategy. The tools used need to protect against the growing number of threats.

Some of the modern threats to data backups include:

  • Data Center Outage: The “cloud” basically means data on a server. That server is internet accessible. Those servers can crash. Data centers holding the servers can also have outages.
  • Sleeper Ransomware: This type of ransomware stays silent after infecting a device. The goal is to have it infect all backups. Then, when it’s activated, the victim doesn’t have a clean backup to restore.
  • Supply Chain Attacks: Supply chain attacks have been growing. They include attacks on cloud vendors that companies use. Those vendors suffer a cyberattack that then spreads throughout their clients.
  • Misconfiguration: Misconfiguration of security settings can be a problem. It can allow attackers to gain access to cloud storage. Those attackers can then download and delete files as they like.

What to Look for in a Data Protection Backup System

Just backing up data isn’t enough. You need to make sure the application you use provides adequate data protection. Here are some of the things to look for when reviewing a backup solution.

Ransomware Prevention

Ransomware can spread throughout a network to infect any data that exists. This includes data on computers, servers, and mobile devices. It also includes data in cloud platforms syncing with those devices.

95% of ransomware attacks also try to infect data backup systems.

It’s important that any data backup solution you use have protection from ransomware. This type of feature restricts automated file changes that can happen to documents.

Continuous Data Protection

Continuous data protection is a feature that will back up files as users make changes. This differs from systems that back up on a schedule, such as once per day.

Continuous data protection ensures that the system captures the latest file changes. This mitigates data loss that can occur if a system crashes before the next backup. With the speed of data generation these days, losing a day’s worth of data can be very costly.

Threat Identification

Data protection incorporates proactive measures to protect files. Look for threat identification functions in a backup service. Threat identification is a type of malware and virus prevention tool.

It looks for malware in new and existing backups. This helps stop sleeper ransomware and similar malware from infecting all backups.

Zero-Trust Tactics

Cybersecurity professionals around the world promote zero-trust security measures. This includes measures such as multi-factor authentication and application safelisting.

A zero-trust approach holds that all users and applications need ongoing authentication. So, just because a user is logged into the system today, doesn’t mean they are completely trusted.

Some of the zero-trust features to look for include:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Distinct file and folder permissions
  • Contextual authentication
  • Verification of permissions for file changes

Backup Redundancy

If you back up to a USB drive or CD, you have one copy of those files. If something happens to that copy, you could experience data loss.

Cloud backup providers should have backup redundancy in place. This means that the server holding your data mirrors that data to another server. This prevents data loss in the case of a server crash, natural disaster, or cyberattack.

Air Gapping for More Sensitive Data

Air gapping is a system that keeps a copy of your data offline or separated in another way. This would entail making a second backup copy of your data. Then, putting it on another server. A server disconnected from external sources.

This is a feature that you may want to seek out if you deal with highly sensitive data. It helps to ensure that you have at least one other copy of your backup. A copy walled off from common internet-based attacks.

Need Help With Secure Backup & Data Protection Solutions?

Have you updated your backup process for today’s threats? Give us a call today to schedule a chat about data backup and protection. LI Tech Solutions, a Long Island  managed services provider, can help!


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.