May 4, 2022
The recent Conti Ransomware attack came as a shock to most of us,but these types of prolific attacks are not simply a problem for the large organisations who made the news headlines. Along with the attack on our own HSE, the group responsible for this attack hit 400 companies worldwide.The effect has been tremendous and time consuming as we know, and the issue,while it is being rectified,remains a significant threat. The lesson we need to learn from this is that ransomware attackers do not discriminate. Small businesses, large corporations, and sole traders are all a target. When attacks happen we imagine they come out of the blue, that we were not the intended target and managed to get ourselves caught up in the whirlwind of malicious intent. This is rarely the case as wherever the information to be abused sits,you can guarantee an attacker has their eye on it, even more so if your defences are low. How can we, as small business owners, proactively protect ourselves from a potential forthcoming attack, or better still ensure an attack never happens?
Recognising and responding to events like this gives us an opportunity to double check we have the correct principles in place to protect ourselves. It’s not a case of, “It’s happened to them, not us.” It’s about understanding why attacks happen, they take place, and being able to detect them before it happens. We don’t need to retrospectively check our responses. It’s too little too late at that stage. We need to know what those responses are before it may happen.
Attacks such as the recent Conti attack all have similar actions which initially target our vulnerability. Unknown to us, we may openly invite these attacks by letting our guard down which highlights a lack of knowledge or a weakness in the software we believe is protecting us. Phishing, social engineering, and dangerous downloads can be the beginning of a targeted attack.
We can’t wait for an attack to happen before we act. We may as well hold the door open for them and hand everything over with a tip of our hat. Every business needs an active and regularly reviewed security policy. Every member of the organisation must be on board with the process and understand how to spot those phishing attacks which can leave your company a target and open. The idea behind being proactive is simple. Stay ahead of the game because you can be certain attackers will break the rules.
While responding and being proactive are, of course, good practices to have in place, when truly looking to protect ourselves from attack we need to adopt a prevention mindset. We can not rely on detecting a problem and responding to it. When it comes to our security it is something we must actively review frequently to close the gaps of vulnerability and patch up where a strike may occur. Prevention, as they say, is better than a cure.