One of the biggest data-stealing ransomware attacks this year impacted a huge number of organizations from hospitals and universities to well-known media outlets like NPR.

In this hack, Social Security numbers, bank account data, and other personal information was stolen through Blackbaud, a cloud technology company.

This type of cybercrime provides huge payouts for cybercriminals, part of the reason why they hit a business every 11 seconds, with a potential impact of $20 billion by the time 2021 winds down.

The United States is by far the hardest hit, fielding a stunning 87% of all ransomware attacks. And this was before COVID-19 arrived on the scene, changing the way we work and communicate from on-premises workspaces to work-from-home environments that are even less secure.

Since COVID, there has been a 600% increase in phishing emails, with 18 million email scams perpetrated every day. Ransomware attacks are up by 25% and all of this cybercriminal activity has cost Americans $12 million in COVID-related scams alone.

No business is immune from attack. Just look at the range of organizations affected by ransomware:

  • Travelex
  • Richmond Community Schools in Michigan
  • Medical practice in Miramar FL
  • Town of Colonie in New York
  • Volusia Public library
  • Electronic Warfare Associates
  • Tillamook County, OR
  • Visser car parts in CO
  • CPI, a defense contractor in CA

The list goes on, with everything from retail stores to nonprofits sharing in the risk.

To protect your business — and your sensitive data — from harm, cybersecurity is a primary concern. And preventing attacks from happening in the first place is the key to continued data safety.

4 Ways to Prevent Ransomware Attacks to Keep Data Safe

While there are many ways your business can protect itself from cybercriminals, we’ve curated some of the most important — and easily accomplished — to help you get started.

  1. Educate Users

Conducting routine trainings every so often to educate your employees about the newest threats and methods used by cybercriminals can help reduce hackers’ ability to access your system.

Not only should you address evolving threats, but you should highlight the typical tactics used by hackers, such as:

  • Social engineering
  • Phishing
  • Malware
  • Credential compromise
  • Web attacks
  • DDos

Conducting trainings and sending memos as new threats emerge is critical to make employees aware of potential issues.

  1. Inventory Assets

You should always be aware of all software and hardware that is connected to your system to create a comprehensive asset inventory. This technique can help you locate undiscovered assets such as employee personal devices so you can place them under your cybersecurity plan umbrella.

  1. Keep Infrastructure Updated

Hackers love to exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software or hardware that has not been appropriately patched. They can get access through an operating system, software program, or even an anti-virus tool by using an exploit kit.

Managing vulnerabilities using routine maintenance and deploying patches and upgrades as soon as they are available is a key component of a strong protective strategy.

  1. Secure Printers

Printers represent a serious vulnerability that make them attractive to hackers. Now that many businesses are letting employees work remotely, non-secure home printers can be a cash cow for cybercriminals.

To protect your fleet, choose printers that can detect an attack in progress and stop it before hackers can make inroads to your system.

Let Verity Group Help You Stay Safe from Ransomware

While there is no 100% foolproof method of preventing hackers from deploying ransomware on your system, Verity Group can offer you serious help with that fourth method: Securing your printers.

We are very aware of the shift to remote work situations that has been predicated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and we have taken steps to help our clients protect their infrastructure by securing printers with the most powerful printer security available.

By partnering with industry leader HP, we can offer printer security options that help prevent and detect cyberattacks as they occur, providing you with unbeatable protection.

HP printers are designed with security in mind. They have boot codes that are validated every time the printer is activated to ensure only correct codes are loaded. HP printers offer whitelisting, ensuring only authentic HP firmware is loaded and going offline to protect the rest of your system if other firmware is detected.

Embedded features protect device memory and instant shut-down and administrator notification keep you safe — and aware — in the event of an attack.

Don’t risk being another statistic in the ongoing wave of cybercrime. Contact Verity Group today and get the most powerful and protective printer security for your business.