Calgary Businesses Need To Prepare For COVID-19 Ransomware Attacks

Cybercriminals are adding disruption to the pandemic crisis by unleashing ransomware attacks. Business leaders may want to ensure they have determined defenses.  

During this time of crisis, one would expect even criminals to consider the struggles of others. Such has not been the case as hackers have unleashed a plague of ransomware attacks that prey on COVID-19 fears.

“This Android ransomware application, previously unseen in the wild, has been titled ‘CovidLock’ because of the malware’s capabilities and its background story,” DomainTools researcher Tarik Saleh reportedly posted. “CovidLock uses techniques to deny the victim access to their phone by forcing a change in the password used to unlock the phone. This is also known as a screen-lock attack and has been seen before on Android ransomware.”

A successful CovidLock ransomware attack reportedly forces business owners to pay a sum of $100 to possibly regain access to a company’s network. Paying $100 may not seem like a significant loss, even coupled with disruption. But that’s just the tip of the spear. Hackers who deploy ransomware are not to be trusted and could leave your system damaged beyond repair. At 403 Tech, our cybersecurity experts have dealt with these digital bandits before and would like our Southern Alberta business community members to understand what they are up against.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that performs a simple, but effective, task. It locks and encrypts the files on a personal or business network until the cyber thief receives payment. The first problem with this scenario stems from the fact you are dealing with an individual or group so loathsome that they are leveraging a pandemic to steal. Needless to say, it’s no sure thing they will hand back your valuable data or unlock the system after taking the bitcoin payment.

In many instances, the files, documents, financial records, and other sensitive information gets deleted after payment. Other times, you may never receive the code to unencrypt your data. Many hackers fear leaving digital fingerprints behind.

Ransomware scams rely on trickery. Cybercriminals often target business leaders and employees with seemingly legitimate requests or information. The current crisis has them sending out phony COVID-19 emails and generating social media scams to get people to provide information on a website or click a link. Once triggered, the malicious software takes control.

How To Protect Your Business from Ransomware Attacks

Perhaps the best way to deter a ransomware attack is not to click that link. That requires ongoing, company-wide training about emerging malware schemes and how to recognize one. There are telltale signs that participating in a training session can help team members be more knowledgeable. Having a business continuity and recovery plan makes a substantial difference. This may include the following.

  • Conduct Network Backups Onsite & in the Cloud Every Day
  • Invest in Best Cybersecurity Software Possible
  • Delete All Suspicious Emails and Contacts
  • Never Click on Attachments without Prior Verification of Authenticity
  • Invest in Business-Grade Firewalls

The current COVID-19 malware schemes generally entice recipients to provide information and credit card numbers to receive a reliable overnight test kit. Some appear to be sent directly to you from a legitimate health agency. Others pose as COVID-19 websites. In this troubled time, get your information from the known health agencies such as the CDC or local government websites. Anything else could be the tip of a malware scheme.

How to Protect Your Calgary Business from COVID-19 Ransomware Schemes

These tips and basic information should prove helpful. Critical next steps include working with a reputable and vetted managed IT cybersecurity professional. The COVID-19 deceptions are just the latest in a long line of attempts to breach business networks. From 2017 to 2018, Canada suffered a 103-percent increase in malware attack attempts, according to It World.

At Pure IT, we stand ready to help you negotiate the current ransomware plague in Southern Alberta. Contact our Calgary office and schedule a managed IT cybersecurity consultation.

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