img blog Ransomware Attacks Are on the Rise Targeting Businesses of All Sizes

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Navigating the Ransomware Wave

Understanding Ransomware: A Growing Cyber Threat

If you follow technology news, you likely know about ransomware’s increasing threat. Hackers use ransomware, a type of malware, to lock you out of your data and demand a hefty ransom for access. These attacks now pose a national problem, affecting businesses large and small.

The Impact on Lincoln College

Consider Lincoln College’s plight in Central Illinois. In December 2021, a ransomware attack encrypted their critical data. The college had to pay $100,000 to regain access (Chung). Already struggling with pandemic-related enrollment declines and tech investments, the attack worsened their recruitment, retention, and fundraising. Consequently, this 157-year-old institution permanently closed (Chung).

Small Business Vulnerability

Many small and medium-sized businesses wrongly assume they’re not hacker targets. Yet, hackers often see these businesses as easy prey, using social engineering to deceive employees and access sensitive information. Such network breaches can devastate operations.

Proactive Measures for Business Success

To safeguard your business, educate your staff on cybersecurity threats and trends. Awareness can prevent victimization. Breaches can cause financial loss, reputational damage, and legal liabilities. Ransomware attacks can also stop production, incurring losses beyond the ransom.

The VF Corporation Case

In December 2023, VF Corporation, owner of brands like Vans and The North Face, reported a ransomware attack. It compromised 35 million customers’ personal data. The attack forced VF Corp to shut down systems, disrupting inventory replenishment and order fulfillment. This led to order cancellations and shipment delays (Gatlan).

Cyber Insurance: A Necessary Step

If you haven’t considered cyber insurance, now’s the time. It can provide coverage in the event of an attack. As discussed in our previous issue, certain precautions are necessary. A Managed IT company can assist with these. For more details, refer to our cyber insurance article for more information. 

Employee Training and Multi-Factor Authentication

It’s vital to train employees on multi-factor authentication for all accounts. This security layer requires a code from an email, SMS, or phone call for account access. Additionally, use a password manager for secure password storage and management. For more on this, visit our blog.

Attention Management and Cybersecurity Training

Ensure your staff receives cybersecurity training. If your Managed IT provider doesn’t offer this, Sundog provides free training on our YouTube page. Topics include multi-factor authentication, password management, and phishing email recognition.

Strategic IT Planning and Software Updates

Your IT provider should keep your software and backups current. Outdated software exposes your network to hackers and can cause downtime. A proactive IT strategy includes regular updates every 3 to 5 years. Neglecting this can lead to compatibility issues and increased hacking risks.

Developing Your Strategic IT Plan

Begin developing your strategic IT plan by scheduling staff cybersecurity training. Sundog can assist with on-site training. Contact us or visit our YouTube channel for training webinars. If you lack a strategic IT partner, consider a Discovery call with Sundog to create a plan for your needs

Chung, Christine . “Lincoln College to Close, Hurt by Pandemic and Ransomware Attack.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 May 2022, Accessed 22 Jan. 2024.

“Vans, North Face Owner Says Ransomware Breach Affects 35 Million People.” BleepingComputer, Accessed 22 Jan. 2024.

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