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SMEs issued with cybercrime warning

Small businesses are being urged to take steps to protect themselves from the threat of cybercrime after hackers targeted the NHS earlier this month.

A ransomware breach crippled computers across the NHS on 12 May 2017, with hackers threatening to delete files unless a ransom was paid.

Research from the Federation for Small Business (FSB) claims 7 million cybercrimes are committed against SMEs in the UK every year, equating to more than 19,000 a day.

FSB figures show the average cybercrime incident costs a small company £3,000 and takes 2.2 days to recover from.

Mike Cherry, FSB chairman, said:

"We are urging all small businesses to take steps to reduce the risk of an attack.

"Businesses should immediately check for updates to their operating systems and anti-malware software and download them where needed.

"We advise small firms to make sure their data is backed up – if the worst happens, data cannot then be held to ransom."

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to your computer system until an amount of money is paid. 

It often arrives in the form or a phishing email, otherwise known as spam, or a fake software update.

Like other computer viruses, it usually finds its way onto a device by exploiting a security hole in vulnerable software or by tricking somebody into installing it.

Security experts warn that ransomware is the fastest growing form of computer virus, which threatens to delete your files unless you pay the blackmail. 

Protecting your business

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, but what can you do to protect your company from the growing threat of ransomware?

The National Cyber Security Council recommends your company takes the following steps:

  • do not open suspicious-looking email attachments or hyperlinks from unknown contacts
  • applying patches for Microsoft Windows will protect against ransomware
  • ensure antivirus products are up-to-date and scans your software regularly 
  • use network segregation techniques to minimise the chance of compromise.

What to do if your computer is infected

If you believe your business has been compromised by ransomware, the National Crime Agency advises:

  • do not to pay the ransom as you don’t know the hackers will clear your system of the virus
  • back up your files regularly as this will be the only way to access your data
  • if you have been the victim of online fraud, report it at: www.actionfraud.police.uk

Contact us to discuss protecting your business.