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Security firm Malwarebytes has reported over half of UK businesses have suffered a ransomware attack in the past year. There has been a dramatic rise in the number of ransomware attacks over the past 12 months with the FBI reporting ransomware attacks cost their victims $209 million in the first three months of 2016 compared to $24 million in the whole of 2015.

What is Ransomware

Ransomware is the term used to describe software which takes control of your computer and prevents you accessing your data through encryption or other means. The software developers then demand a “ransom” to release your data usually in the form of bitcoins. Even after paying the ransom you may not get your data back. Even more concerning is data may be stolen from your system at the same time. For Credit Unions this poses a serious issue due to the large quantities of sensitive data they hold as well as their reliance on their IT systems. This can cause damage to your reputation as well as data protection problems.

Steps you can take

There is no single solution to ransomware and with criminals becoming ever more sophisticated it is increasingly difficult to prevent an attack. There are a number of steps that you can take to reduce your risks. The following should be considered:

  • Ensure you have up to date and reputable anti-virus, firewall and anti-malware software on all your computers and servers.
  • Make sure that all software is updated to the latest version/patch.
  • Ensure staff have had training about the risks of ransomware and exercise caution in opening attachments and clicking on links.
  • Backup your data frequently and have a series of backups at different dates.
  • Enable your pop up blockers.
  • Disconnect your computer or switch it off as soon as you become aware of an attack. There is the risk that your data may be sent or accessed by the criminals.

For more information then please contact us.