Unlike the most common viruses, “ransomware” does not need to be sent by email to do damage. This ransom software can spread without anyone opening an email or clicking on a link. Unlike normal viruses, this virus spreads directly from computer to computer on local servers, rather than by email. This is why ransomware removal is so vital to cybersecurity.

Who can be affected?

Absolutely everyone. From state entities to individuals, local authorities and SMEs. The latter is becoming more and more targeted by “pirates”, mainly because it is easier to get a ransom out of smaller companies that bigger ones. SMEs are often less prepared and have more limited computing resources, which favors cyber-attacks.

SMEs are also often targeted because they are part of an economic supply chain allowing cyber-attackers to reach or at least ultimately target their customers or subcontractors, who are bigger companies, or even large groups or even the public sector. Once hacked, the SME then turns into a viable option for payment. Another “advantage” of hacking SMEs is the propensity of these companies to pay ransoms more quickly.

Why do hackers target SME’s?

A prolonged shutdown would, indeed, result in many more losses for an SME than it would in a larger company. This is what happens when SME businesses are forced to pay four-figure sums (or larger) after hackers take their data hostage for days or weeks. Experts estimate that in the first half of 2016, a company was targeted by a strike of this type every two minutes. In the third quarter, this estimate had increased to one attack every 40 seconds.

How to protect yourself

Obviously, pirates most often abuse the naivety of Internet users. As many industry professionals point out, “being aware” of the possibility of these cyber-attacks is the first step, which must be followed by adding extra security. So again, it’s best to avoid clicking on unknown links or downloading suspicious attachments.

Updating antivirus systems and software is also critical. A few months ago, Microsoft released a security patch to fix the flaw that could cause attacks. The only problem is that many systems have not yet been updated. It is especially important that major computer groups work to resolve the various “flaws” that allow hackers to hack into systems.