How to Avoid Cyber Extortion

cyber extortion

The increasingly common threat of cyber extortion plagues many companies, but very few know what to do about it. Cyber extortion is when cybercriminals demand money and threaten malicious activity, such as deleting or leaking your data, if you fail to pay. Being extorted is a scary thing and it can seem like your best option is to simply hope it doesn’t happen to you and to pay if it does. In actuality, there are ways to combat cyber extortion.

Create a Culture of Security

To avoid falling victim to cyber extortion, the number one thing you need to do is create a culture of security within your organization, starting at the highest levels of leadership. Creating a culture of security means fundamentally changing your mindset about cybersecurity and encouraging all employees to take accountability for their part in keeping the company safe. Remember, support needs to come from the top down; if it doesn’t, the implementation of any new security programs won’t be executed effectively, training won’t be completed or taken seriously, and the original risk will still be present. Executive buy-in is key as you shift your workplace culture to prioritize cybersecurity.

Implement Endpoint Security Solutions

Any device that accesses your corporate network is an endpoint. This means that if a device on your network has any cybersecurity vulnerabilities, it renders your entire corporate network and all of its data vulnerable by extension. Practicing endpoint security means assessing every device on your network, its information, and who has access to it in order to make informed decisions when selecting your endpoint security solutions. Endpoint security solutions aren’t something that you can set and forget. They require close monitoring, regular testing, and adjustments as needed in order to preserve their effectiveness.

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Conduct Security Awareness Training

Many times when companies fall victim to cyber attacks such as cyber extortion, it’s because an unwitting employee made an honest mistake that rendered the corporate network exceptionally vulnerable. To avoid cyber extortion, it’s of critical importance that each and every employee go through rigorous security awareness training as part of the company’s cybersecurity program. In this training, employees should learn how to recognize threats, how to avoid risks, and the proper way to escalate any threats they may encounter.

Administer Phishing Testing

Phishing testing is when you send a fake phishing email to all of your employees in order to see if they fall victim to it or not. The email you craft should have the appearance of a genuinely dangerous phishing scam. This will help you identify which employees could be liabilities and may require further training on cybersecurity best practices.

Partner With Experts

Managing an entire company's cybersecurity programs and systems to guard against cyber extortion is an enormous task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Managing security requires specialized knowledge, skills, and experience. Remember, if you fall victim to cyber extortion, you likely won’t get your data back—even if you pay. That’s why it’s critical to work with a cybersecurity professional who can help you develop a comprehensive security stack as well as a disaster preparedness and recovery plan.

At CyberTeam, we have over twenty years of experience helping companies protect themselves from cyber threats. To speak with one of our experts, you can contact us today.

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