Contact Centers: How to Avoid Falling Victim to Ransomware

Contact centers – the modern-day version of call centers that handle email, texting and chat, and other app communication alongside calling – are a critical part of customer relations, marketing, and sales for many businesses and organizations. Due to the amount of information they have on individuals, from contact information to billing, they are often a target by hackers. While traditional attacks are compromising data integrity, with millions of pieces of personal data accessed – a data breach; we are seeing a rising trend of criminals using ransomware. Criminals want your money and try to get it directly from you by holding your data hostage – plain old-fashioned kidnapping with a hi-tech spin.

What Can You Do to Avoid Falling Victim?

Contact centers have many potential ways for hackers to gain access to the network and security systems needed to hijack the system and lock it down with ransomware. There are three primary ways you can deny hackers avenues of attack to your contact center.

Practice Better Data Hygiene Through Updates

Prevention is the best cure. Follow standard “data hygiene” principles that you probably hear about all of the time. Update your OS, software, and apps whenever a new release or patch is released. Do this ASAP. Some patches may be released solely as a result of the discovery of a vulnerability. Given the variety of applications needed to run a complex contact center, updates must be given top priority. Learn more in our blog, IT Problems: Yes, Always Run Updates.

Train Employees to Avoid Phishing Attacks

Also, employee training is essential. Contact centers are labor-intensive, and every employee represents an additional risk for human error, allowing ransomware to get through. Watch out for phishing scams. If anything looks “off” about an email, don’t open it. And never open links you aren’t totally sure of. If unsure, send an email back to the sender to verify they actually sent you a link. Also, make sure not to post staff’s direct contact information online.

Make Sure Your Data is Backed Up Properly

The most important thing you can do to make sure your data cannot be held ransom is strictly adhering to a regimen of backups. Routinely backup your data. However, even backups may not be foolproof. If your data has been infected and you are unaware of it, or the backup is not segregated from your network, your backups may also be corrupted.

Given the severe consequences of a ransomware attack to a contact center, consider having a security evaluation done by a managed service provider who will have the security expertise to advise you on the best backup protocols for your situation. Triton Technologies can help you not only figure out what went wrong but how to make sure your network doesn’t suffer another ransomware attack. Contact us today.

Ransomware Attacks are Increasing Against Established Organizations

When it comes to ransomware, this cyberattack scheme isn’t new, but it has become increasingly common over the past several years. Many of the viruses lurking out there steal data to be used for nefarious purposes, with the goal having long been to access important financial and personal data that can be sold off. Not ransomware. Ransomware generally does not access your data to sell off to criminals. Instead, the virus kidnaps your data until you pay the ransom.

Understanding How Ransomware is Different

Going back to other forms of cyber-attacks: they focus on credit card numbers that can be sold and used to buy things or social security numbers that can be sold to be used to create fake identities. In the case of many viruses, victims may never even be aware their data has been accessed. Typical malware and spyware tries to go undetected.

How Ransomware Works

Ransomware stops you from using your PC, files, or programs. It holds your data, software, or entire PC hostage until you pay a ransom to get it back. When an attack occurs, you suddenly have no access to a computer – a screen appears announcing your files are encrypted and that you need to pay (usually in bitcoins) to regain access. In some cases, there may be a nerve-wracking clock ticking down to the deadline for the ransom payment. Some versions are so sophisticated they even have mini call centers to handle your payments and questions.

What Happens After a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware stands out from most viruses in that you really have no option once an attack has been made. You either pay up or lose the data.

Have a Data Backup?

The only sure answer is a safe, clean backup. In that case, you are stuck with the nuisance of restoring your data with the backup, but you aren’t out any money. However, this comes with a caveat: your backups have to be clean. The problem with ransomware viruses is that just making backups may not be sufficient to protect your data, as the backups can be infected also.

Have a Disaster Recovery Plan?

The only answer is to be aware that these viruses are out there and that you have to make careful, specific plans to protect your data. It is essential that your backup and disaster recovery plans are designed with a ransomware attack in mind. When it comes to making data security and disaster recovery plans, you should consider bringing in experts with a strong background in this field. Lost data is not something any contact center can easily recover from.

Further Reading on Ransomware

Want to learn more? Check out our other blog articles on ransomware, from how to deal with it to how Triton Technologies protects against it.

Want to learn more about proactive protection and talk about your practice’s cybersecurity? Contact us today. We don’t just protect against ransomware but provide a full suite of cybersecurity and IT support for all your projects and IT infrastructure.

Three Responses After a Ransomware Attack

Ransomware is a type of computer virus that kidnaps your data and holds it hostage for money. It has become increasingly common, attacking governments and all manner of business as well as non-for profit institutions. If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a ransomware attack, there are basically only three options open to you.

What to Do After a Ransomware Attack

Why is ransomware so nasty? Because it steals the most important thing your business possesses. Data. Worse, once infected, there isn’t generally a way out. No one can “disinfect” your machine. You aren’t going to be able to call in IT support to solve the problem. Basically, you have three options.

Do What the Hackers Ask

Pay the ransom. This payment is usually via credit card or bitcoin (a digital currency). Some ransomware viruses even provide helplines if you’re having trouble. Of course, there are no guarantees you will get access to your data – these are thieves you’re dealing with. Plus, you’re going to only ensure more ransomware attacks will happen.

Refuse to Pay to Get Your Data Back

Don’t pay and lose your data – This has its obvious downsides, unless…

Being Prepared with a Backup

You have a safe, clean backup. In that case, you are stuck with the nuisance of restoring your data with the backup, but you aren’t out any money. However, this comes with a caveat: your backups have to be clean. The problem with ransomware viruses is that just making backups may not be sufficient to protect your data, as the backups can be infected also.

Ransomware Requires Prevention and Backups

As you can see, the first two options aren’t very favorable solutions. The only real defense against an attack is the third option. You have to be prepared ahead of time with a safe, segregated backup. Be sure to get the advice of a specialist on how to protect your data from this very serious threat to your business. In addition, you can bolster your cybersecurity through:

Contact Triton Technologies today to learn how we don’t just protect against ransomware but provide a full suite of cybersecurity and IT support for all your projects and IT infrastructure.

Ransomware and Disaster Recovery Plans

Disaster recovery is a fundamental element of good business continuity planning. Business continuity planning refers to the broad range of plans created so that a business can continue to be operational no matter what negative event might occur. Business continuity planning addresses catastrophic events, from loss of a CEO, director, or other principal in the organization to severe natural disasters that incapacitate a physical location. Disaster recovery planning is one piece of this broad planning. Specifically, disaster recovery plans refer to how to quickly recover from some event that compromises your IT infrastructure.

Part of Your Disaster Planning: Ransomware

In general, smaller businesses without any or single-person IT staffs utilize the services of a managed service provider (MSP) to develop disaster recovery plans. One piece of your disaster recovery planning needs to address how the contact center can protect its data from a ransomware attack. Unlike more well-known viruses, ransomware doesn’t just access your data, it locks it down so it is unusable. The business model behind this approach is simple: they are betting you will have no segregated backups and will be willing to buy back access to your data.

Is Your Data Properly Backed Up?

The only real defense against a ransomware attack is offensive. Just routinely making backups of your data may not necessarily protect it from being held hostage. Talk to your managed service provider about the design of your backups and how they are structured, so you will always have a “clean” copy of your data. If you want to defeat the designers of ransomware, your only real solution is to have uninfected backups. As long as you have these, you can simply refuse to pay the ransom. In the case of this virus, offense is the only defense that will keep your business data safe.

Make Sure Your Backup System Get Audited

The most important thing you can do to make sure your data cannot be held ransom is strictly adhering to a regimen of backups. Routinely backup your data. However, even backups may not be foolproof. If your data has been infected and you are unaware of it, or the backup is not segregated from your network, your backups may also become corrupted. Given the severe consequences of a ransomware attack to a business, consider having a security evaluation done by a managed service provider who will have the security expertise to advise you on the best backup protocols for your situation.

From providing superior managed online backups to business continuity planning, Triton Technologies is here to help. We can be called in to help proactively prevent ransomware, as well as provide full IT infrastructure audits and consultation. Contact us today to get started.

Hotels are Now The Hottest Ransomware Target

We have been working with the hospitality industry for quite some time. We’ve taken what we’ve learned and applied it to an industry we feel has been under-secured. Rightfully so. Now ransomware is targeting hospitality clients, from small privately-owned hotels and resorts to the biggest chains and names in the industry. Front desks, reservation systems, and even Wi-Fi is now under active attack for their valuable credit card information – and potentially even more valuable payoffs if the locked-down client pays.

Ransomware Prays on Unsecured Hospitality Networks

Nothing makes a more attractive target than a network that is filled with active and useful credit card information for current and past clients. Those credit cards can be compromised within a second’s notice, and then payment derived worldwide.

Also Beware Virtual Skimmers and Data Breaches

Some ransomware targets are no longer waking up the network, but instead are actively skimming the credit cards as they interact with the usually front desk machines.

What You Can Do to Increase Hotel Cybersecurity

We’ve been providing managed IT for the hospitality industry for many years, from wireless network installations to full cybersecurity. Here are some of the most common issues we encounter and what we suggest for solutions.

To our current hospitality clients: please contact us for further information and about upgrading your existing workstations and managed plans with us. To new hotels, resorts, and others in the hospitality industry looking for the best IT solutions to this problem: Triton Technologies can help. Reach out to us for a consultation.

Ransomware Insurance is Fueling Ransomware

Why cyber insurance is keeping the ransomware industry in business.

As all good managed IT companies and manage security providers do, we are in constant training. From daily check-ins, weekly trainings and monthly seminars, we are kept apprised of the latest trends, threats and how to mitigate them. For us, it has worked incredibly well for many years. But a new threat has arisen that we didn’t expect: ransomware insurance from insurance industry. Continue reading Ransomware Insurance is Fueling Ransomware

roomMaster from innQuest Ends Windows 7 Support

roomMaster is stopping all support for Windows 7

Windows 7 officially sunsets on January 14, 2020. We have known this for quite some time and have written about it previously. We have instilled in as many clients as possible the urgency to upgrade. We know some of you do not want to upgrade because of the cost, inconvenience, or the desire to keep things as they were.

We understand that the hospitality industry is very cutthroat, very razor margins, and when one of your competitors has better service than what you can provide, your clients will go across the street. Continue reading roomMaster from innQuest Ends Windows 7 Support

Cloud, Cloud, Cloud: Why Infrastructure is Going Virtual

An increasing trend in our client infrastructure sales as costs plunge.

We’ve said it before and will say it again: everything is going in the cloud. Servers, workstations, environments, virtual private networks are all heading into the cloud. It is very rare for us right now to sell an actual physical computer. With the very low cost of cloud-based servers, proliferation and legal requirements for firewalls, and the ability to purchase what you need and not what you want makes the cloud an extremely cheap investment. Continue reading Cloud, Cloud, Cloud: Why Infrastructure is Going Virtual