Just one click – that’s all it takes

Defensive fortifications

Your data is more valuable to you than to anyone else. That is why hackers are after your data: so they can sell it back to you. They want to prevent you from doing business, in effect holding your business for ransom. All it takes is one click by one employee on an attachment in an email personalised for them, designed to look genuine. To protect your data and systems, you need a well though through multi-layer defensive strategy, similarly to our Norman ancestors with their layers of fortifications.

That one click by one employee begins the process of locking down the employee’s files. In short order, they are prevented from doing their job. Then it silently spreads to other desktops and servers on the network. If left unchecked, it will shut down your business in hours – potentially for days. Your valuable data will be encrypted and marked for deletion unless the ransom is paid.

More and more, ransomware has emerged as a major threat to individuals and businesses alike. Ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts data on infected systems, has become a lucrative option for cyber extortionists. When malware is run, it locks victim’s files and allows criminals to demand payment to release them. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably well aware that ransomware is a hot topic in the news these days. Organisations of all types and sizes have been impacted, but small businesses can be particularly vulnerable to attacks.

Ransomware is on the rise

In the McAfee Labs June 2018 Threat Report, the number of new ransomware strains saw an increase of 62% in the previous four quarters. This increase brings McAfee’s total number of identified strains to roughly 16 million.  According to Carbon Black there more than 6,300 sites on the dark web offering ransomware solutions to carry out your own attack!

Ransomware is distributed in a variety of ways and is difficult to protect against because, just like the flu virus, it is constantly evolving.

There are a few dominant types, or families, of ransomware in existence. Each type has its own variants. It is expected that new families will continue to surface as time goes on. Historically, Microsoft Office, Adobe PDF and image files have been targeted, but now all operating systems, all device types and data stored on premise and in the cloud are all under attack and at risk.

ransomware is on the rise

The cost of a ransomware attack is not the payment – it’s the downtime and the recovery effort

IT Service Providers in Datto’s survey of ransomware infections report 21% of SMB clients paid the ransom typically between $500 – $2,000. But of those that paid, 18% never recovered the data. In reality, the impact of an infection is much greater than the cost of the ransom – often up to 10 times more – 62% report loss of data or devices while 78% of SMBs report business threatening downtime while they recover from the infection. Even worse, 11% report malware remained on devices after recovery and struck again!

What should I do – there’s no single answer

Malware most often gets into your systems from spam emails – phishing or spear phishing emails. They trick your users into clicking an attachment or visiting a spoof website. But it can also arrive through users downloading software, from infected flashdrives, from visiting infected websites. In fact almost any seemingly innocuous activity can lead to catching a virus. Some commentators estimate that 70% of infections are caused by your users!

To protect against these various infectious routes requires a multi-layer approach as no one solution will catch everything – and you need a recovery mechanism for when you do get infected. Ive been to Wales recently and visited a number of the old Norman castles – those guys really knew about a multi-layered approach to defence of core assets over 1,000 years ago. We need to adopt a similar well thought out defensive strategy:

  • Top of the list is train your users. Teach them to spot fake emails, what to do and who to call if they spot an infection or attack;
  • Install a good filtering solution on your emails to cut out fake emails from being delivered in the first place. The filters are out in front, heading off the attack before it reaches your properties;
  • Use good quality security software on your devices. Freeware is OK, but OK is not really good enough;
  • Ensure you regularly download software patches for your operating systems and key applications to stop malware exploiting vulnerabilities – a bit like ensuring any vulnerabilities in your defences are constantly reinforced;
  • Partition your networks to stop infections propagating across devices – like the curtain walls in a castle; and finally
  • Backup your files and operating systems so that in the case of an attack you can recover quickly – a option not available in my castle analogy. If you get a ransomware attack, the only reliable way to reliably recover is from a backup. So ensure you practice the recovery process.

Need some guidance – we can help:


About Us

We provide supportive leadership enabling our business community to succeed and prosper through effective use of IT and Technology. PAAC IT is an IT Company in Surrey offering small businesses the personal attention and care that their IT systems deserve. If your company has between 1 and 100 employees and need a IT Company in Surrey we would love to hear from you!

Find out more
"PAAC IT provide a managed service for our PCs on a fixed monthly charge. Really great, they are there when we need them"
Julia Macquisten - OwnerLucas Field Media
"PAAC-IT provide and maintain our Apple Macs and Macbook Pros. Richard and his team at PAAC IT are very prompt and responsive when we need help, and a pleasure to work with"
David Alden - DirectorAlden Holmes
"Our business is highly dependent on computer technology – all the way from design and creative software platforms to administration processes. PAAC-IT set up and configured our mix of PC and Apple computers, file servers and security software and now keep it running. The team at PAAC-IT is very competent and keep our IT running smoothly"
Edward Green - DirectorMilly Green
"I was having trouble making Skype calls to my son. Both Darren and Connor were extremely helpful and patient. They were so kind to get the computer in and out of the car for me - i couldn't have done this on my own as i am disabled"
Jane Nightingale
"On moving house we required help of PAAC to coordinate a tablet, PC and laptop with new security and email addresses and to ensure transfer of old contact details etc. Some of this work was undertaken by Darren in the Midhurst shop and some at our new address. Darren was professional and helpful with successful results. PAAC also followed up with care to ensure that all was well. "
A satisfied customer
"I have been dealing with PAAC IT, mostly in their Midhurst Office, but also in Haslemere, for the past three or four years. They clearly understand Macs and have given me good advice, and sorted out various issues for me. Things did go wrong with the network wireless adapters I had bought from them, but they were quick to ensure they were checked and replaced without a problem, and they followed up with me a month later to ensure all was OK. That’s good customer service!"
James Tree
"Dynamite, goes the extra yard every time, reliable and essential support to my business."
Lawrence MullenThe Talking Trade
"Good, dependable, brilliant, local"
Anneke Clegg
"I have been using the services of PAAC IT for over two years. During this time I have found the staff to be courteous, understanding, and very efficient. I have received first class service on each and every occasion – from keeping my ancient computer running, to advising and supplying a suitable replacement when it eventually crashed. All my transactions have been with the team in the Haslemere shop where Richard, Mark, Darren and Oliver have addressed my computer difficulties with great patience and kindness. To them I am eternally grateful."
Derek Smyth