Small Business Owners: Don’t let ransomware magnify your challenges.

small business owners w/ laptopIn these trying times, the last thing you should have to worry about is having to shut down your business because your computers were hacked.

Running a small business entails a lot of worries and sleepless nights. You are out there every day serving your customers, making things happen, and stressing out about surviving this crisis or the next one. In normal times, your efforts make our economy hum. In these not normal times, we need your resilience more than ever. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, you and your fellow small businesses account for 44 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The last thing you should have to worry about now is whether your computers could cause your business to fail.

Cyber criminals use malicious software to take business’s hostage by encrypting their computers. When this happens, most small businesses are at a loss as they lack the resources needed to pay ransom demands, secure their networks, or rebuild IT infrastructure after a cyberattack.  Upwards of 60% of small businesses close their doors within 6 months of a cyberattack.

How does someone hold my business hostage?

Cybercriminals use what is called ransomware to lock (encrypt) your files so they are no longer accessible. If you are an accounting firm, all those client records are now gone, unless you are willing to pay their ransom demand. Other types of ransomware may lock your computer fully such that it is unusable. If you own a food delivery business and take orders online, or use a dispatch system, that portion of the business will not work. If you process credit cards, how will that affect you?

Isn’t antivirus enough?

Antivirus is only as good as its “dictionary.” The vast majority of antivirus uses definitions.  This means they look at a piece of software and if that software matches up with a definition the antivirus has, it will be blocked. If it does not match a definition, it will be allowed through. Cybercriminals do their best to stay ahead of antivirus and are continually developing new and different tools to evade antivirus.

So, what do I do?

Security technologies have come a long way. Larger companies deploy artificial intelligence solutions to review software to ensure it does not behave in suspicious ways. If the software is suspicious it is blocked until it can be investigated. Typically, this level of sophistication has not been available to the majority of small businesses. It’s generally too expensive or complex and few have the resources to manage a tool like this.

So great, there are things out there, but they are too expensive or too complicated, why did you bother telling me?

Sera-Brynn has developed CHECKLIGHT™ for the small business community. CHECKLIGHT is a simple-to-install system which uses artificial intelligence and human-in-the-loop decision-making to continuously monitor your computers for suspicious and malicious activity. CHECKLIGHT will notify you in near real-time of attempted attacks, allowing you to defeat cyber criminals before disaster strikes. The detection capabilities are guaranteed.

Cybersecurity is a team sport. Let’s tackle this problem together.

More reading:
“Company shuts down because of ransomware, leaves 300 without jobs just before holidays” (ZDNET 2020)
“A US fundraising firm has been forced to close its doors after more than 60 years in business following a crippling ransomware attack in October.” (Infosecurity Magazine, 2020)
“FBI: $3.5B Lost in 2019 to Known Cyberscams, Ransomware” (ThreatPost, 2020)
“Ransomware shuts down 1 in 5 small businesses after it hits” (CNET 2017)

The author, Colin Glover, is a principal and senior security analyst at Sera-Brynn, LLC.