The Weather Channel successfully defends against a ransomware attack

Bleeping Computer reported on April 18th, The Weather Channel stopped its live broadcasting due to a security incident that lasted for at least 90 minutes.

Details are scant at the time of writing this blog post and a tweet from the station does not lift the haze, informing only that it was the victim of "a malicious software attack on the network."

Malicious software is code for a ransomware attack as they allude to later on their article.

It was also reported “restoring the normal program was possible thanks to backup systems”

Backup systems are the real story behind this story because planning, investment in technology and expertise turned this attack into a 90-minute delay, instead of taking the Weather Channel down until the ransom was paid as it the case in so many of these ransomware attacks.

A 90-minute delay is a fantastic performance by backup systems

Phenomenal performance is another word that is not overstating it because not too long ago these types of attacks were deadly and indefensible. Today, with the right planning, technology, and expertise, what was once deadly has now been reduced to a delay.

If your business was attacked would you suffer a business shutdown or a delay?

The Weather Channel deserves a hearty round of applause for their successful defense

When organizations of any size are successfully shut down by a ransomware attack, they lose money, their reputation takes a hit and they can lose customers. Sad, but true none the less.

That’s just the way it is

Joe Galvin, Chief Research Office of Vistage, reports that "60 Percent of Small Businesses Fold Within 6 Months of a Cyber Attack." And Mr. Galvin is not alone in his reporting. Not by a long shot.

The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission states "Cybercrime Represents a Very Real, and Very Serious Threat to SMBs."

DTS InfoTech is an IT Services company. As such we have many clients depending upon us to protect their data and thereby protect their businesses from being fatally shutdown.

We could literally cite story after story after story of organizations that were successfully shut down by a ransomware attack and forced to pay a ransom for access to their data. But to date, not one of our clients has been forced to close their business. Why?

Because we provide the planning, guidance in technology and operational expertise they need to protect their business. That's one of the many services and IT Services company can provide.

Sadly, many small businesses don't believe they need this kind of protection

They wrongly think they are too small to be attacked. But nothing could be further from the truth. Small businesses are targeted for attack because they are small!

The owners simply don't understand the growth in this type of crime. It is global in nature. It is growing and if you own a small business, you're a target.

USA Today published a report on the cyber threat small businesses should be aware of. Here too, we could cite numerous stories of small businesses that have been successfully attacked, but I'll leave it up to you to do your own research.

All you need is a computer with an internet connection and you can find more stories about ransomware attacks in fifteen minutes than you even have time to read about. It's the truth! These stories are everywhere. Some of them are heartbreaking and tragic.

So . . . what to do?

If you're starting to believe what you're reading, but you're not sure where you should begin, we can help. Here are 3 easy steps you can take to defend your business . . . 

1. Employee training

2. Employ detection software

3. Backup your data using image-based data backup technology

Employee training

You'll hear all the time the need to protect your business from fire, flood, and natural disasters. Although this is true, in our experience, most problems will be caused by good, hardworking employees and the owners of businesses. We all make mistakes. That includes the author of this article.

You have to train yourself, and your employees on how to recognize emails that are not legitimate. And the training you need doesn't stop there.

Employ detection software

There is software available that will guard the computers of your business night and day. This software will alert you of suspicious activity so you can resolve any nefarious activity inside and outside of your business.

Backup your data using image-based data backup technology

Your best line of defense is to back up your data. But . . . just backing it up is not enough.

You must be able to restore your data quickly. Restoring your data in 2 to 3 days is simply not good enough anymore. Your customers will find someone else to service them if you can't.

Backup your data using image-based data backup technology

You must be able to restore your data in less than one hour and thereby get your business operational. If it takes longer than this, you’re using old technology that is not fast enough.

The 90-minute delay The Weather Channel experienced is tolerable for most businesses.

Everyone understands delays because we all experience them. But no service for 2 to 3 days will force your customers to find someone else. When this happens, you may lose them forever.

Keep this in mind . . . no data = no business

You must protect your business from the bad guys that prowl the internet looking for an entrance into the computers that run business. They will steal your data if you let them. Your data is worth money to them and they will sell your data.

DTS InfoTech Can Help

We’re really good at this data backup thing. Seriously, we are.

On the other hand, most small businesses do not have the expertise, technical resources or time to understand all this geek stuff. If this describes you, we can help. But if you don’t really believe this stuff, first, you will have to pull your head out of the sand.

Just saying.

If you would like more information about Ransomware, click here, or give us a call, we’re always happy to chat and the call is free!

Dedicated to your success,

Wally Moore

General Manager

dts|infotech . . . secure computer networks that work