According to a recent study by Malwarebytes, the UK has retained its place as the second most attacked country in the world, falling only behind the US.  Similar to the US, the UK has experienced a notable increase in known ransomware attacks over the last four months, with March, May and June nearly double the normal recorded number.

The education sector has been the second most attacked sector in industry suffering 14% of known ransomware attacks, the highest being the services sector at 32%.  Ransomware gangs are on the increase and target en-masse with Malwarebytes reporting tracking 32 separate ransomware groups inside the UK over he last 12 months.*

So what can businesses do to reduce the risks of ransomware attacks?

  1. Ensure firewalls are regularly updated to patch any vulnerabilities that become exposed. Your first line of defence should be an investment priority for a business.
  2. Subscribe to Remote Monitoring and Maintenance with a trusted IT provider to ensure all devices remain up-to-date and vulnerabilities are  are patched promptly.
  3. Train staff in identifying Phishing emails and have a clear multi-person sign-off policy within your finance team for authorising new or changes to banks details for supplier payments.
  4. Identify your weakest links – these can be staff members who need training, remote workers connecting to unsecure Wi-Fi’s in cafes and hotels.  AND smartphones (most employees have work email and access to systems on their personal devices) that organisations have no control over.

Top tips for employees to help protect the organisation they work for against ransomware attacks

  1. Think twice before opening emails from unknow individuals – your employer should provide IT security training.
  2. Don’t get lazy with passwords.  These are designed to protect both you and your company – create them wisely.
  3. Step forward straight away if you think a system or password may have been compromised – don’t wait. Fast action can provide damage limitation.

* Source: Malwarebytes for Business – 2023 UK State of Ransomware Report

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