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Saturday 22 October 2016

How ransomware could hijack your business

Published 13/04/2016 | 16:07

‘Organised criminals are targeting the computers of small firms and even big government departments. If you don't pay up, they'll delete your files and have even set up call centres to take their payments from desperate victims.’

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This was the stark warning from INM’s Technology Editor, Adrian Weckler, who joined presenter, Brian Purcell, and Conor Flynn, MD of Information Security Assurance Services on this week’s Ready Business podcast.

They were on the show to discuss the growing problem of ransomware for Irish SMEs. 

It’s a rising problem for businesses in Ireland – and it’s not just the multinationals that are being targeted.

How ransomware could hijack your business
How ransomware could hijack your business

So, how do you know if you’re at risk, what can you do to stop it, and what do you if the worst case scenario does indeed happen to your business?

“It’s becoming very common,” explained Flynn.  “Ransomware holds your computer files, data and software to ransom and is activated through opening a malicious file or visiting a malicious website.”

“And it’s getting increasingly sophisticated,” added Adrian Weckler.  “The model is to pay the ransom - on average about €300 in bitcoins – and the criminals now  even have multi-lingual call centres to help guide you through the payments processing.”

“Unfortunately, it’s actually SMEs these days who are now more at risk,” says Flynn.  “Most SMEs are focused on their customers and growing their business, not IT security.”

The reality is, how many of us even get around to actually doing back-ups?  But, the only way to protect yourself is to back-up constantly and to save those files on a separate device to your computer.  Even backing up on the cloud won’t save you if you are hit.

Each week on the Ready Business podcast we’re answering your start-up and SME questions giving practical advice on how best to run your business and on this week’s Twitter poll, we asked, ‘Is your business protected against ransomware?’

While 37% said yes and 22% said no, incredibly, 41% said they had never heard of it and Conor Flynn and Adrian Weckler agreed that raising awareness of the problem from the relevant State bodies must be key.

“It’s a case of not if, but when you’re going to be hit,” says Flynn.

We’ll be running our Twitter poll every Friday on @independent_ie using the hashtag #readybusinessadvice so don’t forget to let us know the key business issues that you would like us to address.

The Ready Business show, in association with Vodafone, is available every Thursday via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Or subscribe to the RSS feed of the Ready Business Podcast using your favourite podcatcher.

You can check out the full Ready Business Podcast series here.

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