Ransomware attacks, like car crashes, are things that happen to other people.

It’s human nature to think that it can’t happen to me, right up to the moment when you hear that terrible crunching sound. And the experience of many businesses in Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley is that ransomware attacks can and do happen.

At Riverbank we first encountered ransomware about three years ago. An employee at one of our clients got a phone call from someone saying they were from Microsoft and they needed access to their PC.

They fell for it and lost the contents of their home PC. Since then, this illegal trade has turned into big business and has become a lot more professional.  It is hurting Oxfordshire businesses and you need to be aware.

How much will it hurt?

We know local businesses that have been hit by ransomware, through no fault of their own. The individual victims have been perfectly competent computer users; thoughtful and careful people. One person was caught by an invoice that was sent as a PDF attachment to an e-mail; it appeared genuine and looked like something they would expect to receive.

The clear message is: any one of us could get caught.

The consequences of these attacks are severe. Servers and PCs are down while everything is checked and the affected files removed. Only then can the process of recovery from backup begin. The net result is days of disruption and a large bill for the recovery.

But the real damage goes beyond IT issues. Staff are left worried that they might be the next victim and relationships with customers can be damaged by the downtime.

OK, so what do I need to do?

The most important part of staying safe is to be vigilant – the Human Firewall. Even if you are expecting calls or emails, don’t make assumptions that they must be safe.

After that, it’s down to technical improvements. Review your IT security: make sure you have a strong password policy, write and implement a Continuity Plan and use layers of software to increase your protection. Make sure that your final layer of protection – your backup – is working well and is regularly tested.

Only then can you can sleep soundly, knowing that you’ve done everything you could to reduce your risk.

As a strong part of your company’s efforts to combat cyber-threats, Riverbank IT Management has brought together a comprehensive suite of products called Riverbank SecurePC and overlaid it with our expertise in the field to deliver you peace of mind. Each set of tools is a layer in this defence and is under constant review to ensure the vendors we use are the best.

To make your business better able to fend off ransomware, contact your account manager on 01235 426700. 

If you’re not a Riverbank client, you can get in touch on enquiries@riverbank.co.uk