What is ransomware?

A ransomware program holds a device hostage until the owner pays a large amount of money to be able to regain control over it. The virus usually occurs from a machine most often via email attachments from unknown senders. Ransomwares come in two major types: Locker ransomware and Crypto ransomware. The first locks the computer or device, while the latter prevents its owner from being able to access it.

How does a ransomware attack work:

1. Receiving an unsolicited email that attempts to entice the victim into opening an attachment or visiting a website.

2. Ransomware exploits flaws in the computer’s operating system to force it to execute ransomware code.

3. Usually encrypting the files on the system, ransomware demands a digital currency payment as ransom, such as Bitcoins, that encrypts the files on the system.

What can your business do to prevent ransomware attacks?

A number of measures like putting  in place a firewall, keeping backups of all their files, training staff to not make mistakes, hiring IT firms to test systems etc.

  1. Back up data  in order to be able to restore any affected files from a backup. Restoring your files from a backup is the fastest way to recover access to your data.
  2. Never ever give out personal information when answering an email, unsolicited phone call, text message or instant message. This is the ploy most often used by hackers to get into your computer system.
  3. It is imperative to keep your security software updated and maintain a strong firewall. There are many fake antivirus software companies available today, thus it’s very important to purchase antivirus software from a reputable company.
  4. Make sure all software and systems are patched accordingly.
  5. As a final precaution, please do not open suspicious emails. Remove the email permanently from your system. 

Does your Cyber insurance policy cover Ransomware?

Most Cyber insurance policies provide coverage for ransomware attacks. Specific policies include wording relating to:

Denial of service attack, hijacking of all your social media sites: Restoration costs/ Forensic Costs

Payment of Ransom /Extortion : Reimbursement  for any ransom paid by your business.

Reputational Loss: PR costs for damage your brand or reputation

Loss of Profit: Claim for loss of profit due to denial of service attack.

Your Cyber insurance policy covers your business for ransomware attacks –  **Remember that being cautious and alert is the most effective course of action!

Disclaimer: “The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs, please seek advise from your broker or risk advisor before taking any action on the contents of this article”