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When you think of ransomware targets, you probably think of large national or international organizations such as banks or government agencies. It is more likely that these larger companies or government agencies have access to greater financial assets than smaller companies. Larger organizations may seem to have more to lose and, thus, may be more likely to pay a ransom to prevent the ransomware offender from interrupting their business operations. So it may be surprising to learn that small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are often the victims of malware and ransomware attacks.

SMBs Are Ransomware Targets, Too

The software used in malware attacks is usually software that encrypts an organization’s data or hinders programs necessary for conducting daily business. Ransomware is a type of cyber attack in which a predator uses malware to infiltrate the computer technology of a company and use the information or access to attempt to extort some financial gain. Malware attacking SMBs can also be an attempt to obtain cryptocurrency.

Why SMBs Are Ransomware Targets

SMBs may not have as many assets or the capability to pay high ransom demands as larger entities. The smaller size of an organization might seem like it protects the organization from malware targeting SMBs. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.

SMBs are attractive targets to criminals looking for easy access to computer systems. SMBs often have weaker cyber security in place than large organizations, so they can often be easier targets to infiltrate.

Targeting an SMB strategically can help an offender penetrate a larger company. Since larger companies often have stronger security around their information technology structures, hackers can use a back door way of getting into the larger organization’s system by getting access through an SMB that does business with their actual target.

Though SMBs may have fewer assets or liquidity to pay off a ransom, they may hold bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies that are of interest to ransomware offenders. Capturing smaller amounts of ransom or cryptocurrency can make it more challenging to find the criminals using the malware targeting SMBs.

Signs of a Ransomware Attack

Many people are unaware of what the common types of ransomware attacks might look like—that is until they’ve been a victim of one.

Ransomware is going to cause what might seem like minor glitches at first. Organizations impacted by ransomware might experience being locked out of one of their computer programs or initially locked out of their computers. Other signs of a ransomware attack include a blockage of the ability to access the organization’s data files either through encryption or by temporarily removing the files.

These cyberattacks are meant to interrupt business and threaten the ability to move forward while causing great cost and pain to the organization. The threat of business disruption will, in the hacker’s hopeful mind, compel the organization to promptly pay the ransom demanded.

What Ransomware Targets Can Do

There are several things that you can do after a security breach to recover and protect yourself in the future.  If you find your organization is a victim of a ransomware cyber attack, it is not recommended that you pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that the hacker will release their cyber hold on the organization simply because the ransom was paid. And there is also no guarantee that the hacker cannot simply hack back into your systems after the ransom is paid.

The best thing that ransomware targets can do is implement a cyber security system to protect them from an attack. An experienced IT professional can help you establish proper protocols to prevent such attacks in the future.