Work from Home: Is your company at an increased risk of a virus or ransomware attacks?

  • July 29, 2020

Many of us are still reeling at the effect the Covid-19 virus has had on day-to-day living. From a work perspective, employees had to move to a “work from home” solution virtually overnight, and while this seems innocent enough, the fact that this could not be planned has had huge ramifications from an IT perspective. It’s not just about taking a laptop or desktop home but also about the security that comes with that which is often overlooked in its entirety. It’s easy enough to get to your email and files with cloud computing being so readily available. With the right equipment, you can quickly be attached to your work network and work as though you were at the office. But without the right planning the home user can be putting any company at a huge risk. With so many people having very little security at home or routers that can easily be accessed (hacked), this has become a lucrative area for hackers to attack. Hackers and data thieves stealing data and holding them for ransom (ransomware) has been on the rise at an alarming rate. Imagine everything on your system being locked and no one being able to get to it until you or your company pay a ransom price of thousands of dollars for it.

This has become the scenario that more and more home users or workers, as well as companies, have found themselves in with no way out but to pay the ransom to get their systems and data back. Failure to pay the amount within the allotted time results in data being deleted or in some cases released on the internet. The impact of having personal or business data released is greater for some than for others and the ransom amount is usually on par with the importance of the data or the size of the company. If you decide your data is not valuable you can decide not to pay for it, but if you don’t have a good backup of your data you have no choice but to start from scratch, which is a daunting task for most home users and companies alike.

It is alarming to see how many computers are vulnerable and people are not aware of it. But why is this so important and why should you pay attention to it? Consider these facts:

  • • Since January 2020 the attacks on small businesses and people working from home has increased significantly.
  • • In 2019 ransomware attacks increased by 41%.
  • • Over 20% of all attacks are against small businesses.
  • • The average ransomware cost for a small to medium business is around $84,000. For large companies it is on average $780,000.
  • • In 2018 the damages were $8 Billion, 2019 saw it increase to $11.5 Billion and now with the increased attacks it is estimated that by 2021 ransomware will reach $20 Billion

And you are not at less risk of a risk because you use a Mac or Linux system. These systems are also vulnerable as well as all the smart devices being used. No systems are safe from attack.

Can this be prevented? While there is no way to protect a business or user 100%, there are ways to fend off attacks with anywhere from a 95% to 99% effectiveness by implementing a few key solutions. Besides the obvious reliable anti-virus software running on your system, the first thing you can do is to make sure you have a backup solution in place. For the personal home user this can be around $60 per year using software such as BackBlaze which is one of the easiest to set up and forget. For a business the BackBlaze Business solution is slightly more complex but still an affordable solution.

Next, you need to consider your router since this provides a firewall defense between you and the outside internet. Home routers are notorious for never being updated by the manufacturer which means the software may have security holes or bugs that can be exploited. And if an update is available it needs to be installed by the user which is rarely done. There are a handful of good home routers that are effective at being a first line of defense, but if you are a small business working from home, the suggestion is to use a small business solution* (see below if you need assistance with this). Even if you run a small business from home you may want to consider using a more effective firewall than a home router.

An additional level of protection to consider is a simple detection software solution that will alert you of anything that occurs to your system. You can also include active response monitoring where action will be taken by a team of engineers the moment something is detected. This option takes the stress out of securing your network and prices range from $5 to $50 per system per month depending on the service required and the size of the business being monitored. All you need to do is consider the value of your business data and what the affect will be if your data is stolen and deleted.

How TRK Technology can help:

TRK Technology can assist in providing a solution that would fit your need, from a regular firewall to monitoring services with active response. If you need more information, feel free to send us a message through this link. Someone from the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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