Picture this... It's Monday morning and your staff are getting settled into a very busy work day. Next thing you know your screens goes blank and you get a pop up message telling you that your server has been locked and you need to pay a ransom in order to free your system. They ask for a $5,000 untraceable payment to be sent immediately. What do you do?

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence. Hackers are getting smarter, faster and better at ways to incapacitate and essentially terrorize businesses big and small. Your first response might be to just pay them and fix the access point afterward. Everything we hear and read on this subject indicates that negotiating with hackers is the worst thing you can do. 

Here are steps you might want to take if this situation arises:

  1. Remain calm... Try not to worry or involve staff until you fix the problem. Having more people involved only compounds the anxiety and stress level. There is always plenty of work that can be done without their computers. Have someone on your team keep staff calm and busy until the crisis is over. 
  2. SHUT DOWN! Try to shut down to prevent loss of any sensitive data. This may or may not be an option, but sometimes shutting down is the first and best step. The damage that can be caused from the loss of data to hackers is far worse than the damage that can be causes from a hard shut down. 
  3. Contact your IT team. Chances are that they have seen hacking like what you are experiencing and can help resolve it or bring in experts that can. You may need to have a deeper conversation with them later on why you were not protected... You may need to spend a bit in either extra man hours or specialty services to regain control of your system, but it beats giving in or negotiating with hackers. 
  4. BACK UP! Many times you can reboot using a back up of your system before the hackers gained access. You may lose a day or so of work, but it might be your most affordable and fastest solution. Check with your IT specialist to see if using a back up is a possibility coupled with up to date anti-virus/security software.  

Hopefully by this time you have resolved your problem and are back in business. Being held digitally hostage is almost as frightening as the real thing for business owners. Your hold enterprise and livelihood can come to an immediate stop. Take steps now by making sure you have the best technology on your side to prevent any hacker from ever getting access to your system. 

Cyber Liability Insurance policies typically have extortion coverage and loss of business income coverage due to a ransom situation as outlines above. Every business should consider if Cyber Liability is worth investing in to protect their business. Even with up-to-date software, hackers are coming up with new ways to get access. If you have any questions about this subject or are interested in a quotation, please contact us