7 years ago, I wrote a blog sounding the alarm about ransomware cybercriminals targeting local businesses. Before this time, ransomware cybercriminals were primarily targeting corporate America, NOT Main Street America. In the blog, I provided several steps local businesses could take to protect themselves from ransomware. At the time, RB’s Computer Service, computer repair shops around the country, cybersecurity analysts, the media, and many others worked hard to get the word out. According to PCMag, this effort seems to have had an impact. As PCMag reports, ransomware victims that paid hackers declined to a record low of only 29% in the 4th quarter of 2023. The primary reason for this is businesses can recover from a ransomware attack using their backups. Although more and more businesses are not paying a ransom to recover their data or access to their networks, cybercriminals have not stopped coming up with new ways to scam victims. One new scam involves QR codes. In this blog, we’ll explore options for backing up your computers, networks, data files, and how QR code scams work, and how to steer clear of them.
RB’s Computer Service Can Help With Computer Backups
As noted above, ransomware victims that paid hackers declined to a record low of only 29% in the 4th quarter of 2023. This wasn’t a one-off. Instead, it is a growing trend with businesses refusing to pay that began about three years ago when around 60% gave in to ransomware demands. This is because businesses have become more adept at responding to a successful ransomware incident and they can recover from a ransomware attack using their backups.
Computer and Network Backup Options
One way is to back up everything in-house with a private server or by using the cloud. A private server is a great option for backing things up when the business has a dedicated IT person. For smaller businesses without a dedicated IT person, using the cloud for backups tends to be the best option. However, for a private server, let’s assume you have a person who is knowledgeable enough to get an in-house server up and running. Does he or she also have more than a basic electrician and HVAC skill set? He or she will need those skills. Climate control and proper cable management can't be overstated. Cables and equipment exposed to physical tampering are a ticking time bomb for accidents such as coffee spills, dust, or even workers tripping over wires. In addition to the cabling and setting up access to workstations, you will also want to connect a mid-sized pure sinewave uninterruptible power supply. If you don’t feel your IT person can wear the other hats required to set up a private server, or if your business doesn’t have an IT person, contact RB’s Computer Service today at 763-441-3884. We would be glad to partner with your team to help navigate the best options for your business.
QR Code Scams
While computer and network backups have enabled many businesses to avoid paying ransomware hackers, cybercriminals haven’t stopped coming up with new ways to scam victims. One new scam involves QR codes.
It has been said that the best lies and deceptions are wrapped in a nugget of truth or disguised by the appearance of legitimacy. Phishing email scams are notorious for this. They often use a familiar logo you trust in their ploy. But if you look closer at the email, you will often notice the phishing email’s URL often doesn’t match the business or organization represented in the logo. Plus, phishing emails usually have misspellings and syntax issues. With a QR code scam on the other hand, there is no opportunity for a second look. Once you scan a QR code you can get into it. Likewise, once you scan a QR code, the hackers are in your device too. This is why they are so dangerous.
In a recent FCT blog warning, scammers are placing fake and malicious QR codes on inconspicuous public places, like on the parking meter where you’re told to pay with an app, covering up the real service and getting you to enter your payment info.
The best advice for protecting yourself is the same as it has always been. Be careful of anything that’s trying to get you to make a quick decision, like an email or text that says your package has been delayed, and carefully inspect the URL of a code posted in public before you visit the site.
Many businesses are avoiding paying ransomware cybercriminals because they have taken steps to back up their computers and computer networks. However, cybercriminals haven’t stopped coming up with new ways to scam victims. One new scam involves QR codes. For backups, if you don’t feel your IT person can wear the other hats required to set up a private server, or if your business doesn’t have an IT person, contact RB’s Computer Service today. To help avoid QR code scams, every business should consider encouraging or requiring their employees to take some type of cybersecurity best practices training. Implementing office policies and guidelines for using work-related computers and devices could also be helpful. In addition to computer and network backups, RB’s Computer Service can help you with installing, upgrading to, or troubleshooting Windows 10 & 11. Don’t hesitate to contact RB’s Computer Service today via email at email@example.com or call us at 763-441-3884. We are cybersecurity experts and provide very affordable Managed IT Service Agreements to ensure your computers and computer networks work securely, and smoothly and do what you need them to do.
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