Surge in Ransomware Attacks: Experts Advise UK SMEs to Strengthen Cybersecurity

by | Sep 30, 2023

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In the UK, a digital storm is brewing. As ransomware attacks escalate, small businesses are particularly under threat.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has reported that ransomware attacks in the UK have reached a record high, with over 5.3 million individuals’ data compromised from 700+ organisations. 

Compliance training service, Skillcast warn that SMEs face heightened vulnerability due to weaker security infrastructure and advise that cybersecurity should be prioritised.

 
 

SMEs are often seen as easier prey for malicious actors and the rising threat of ransomware attacks can often cripple smaller organisations. To help prevent this, Skillcast have provided ten essential safeguarding tips that SMEs should consider:

  1. Regular Backups – Frequently backup critical data to offsite locations. Ensure backups are secure and regularly tested for restoration.

2.               Educate Staff – Train employees on recognising phishing emails and suspicious links. Employee awareness is your first line of defence, without this they know what to be aware of and can fall prey as phishing emails become increasingly more sophisticated.

3.               Update Software – Keep operating systems and software up-to-date with security patches. Cybercriminals often exploit outdated software as it is easier to bypass. 

 
 

4.               Multi-Factor Authentication – Implement MFA wherever possible. It adds an extra layer of security against unauthorised access and will often deter cybercriminals as they search for easier targets.

5.               Network Security – Invest in robust firewall and intrusion detection systems to monitor network traffic for anomalies.

6.               Incident Response Plan – Develop a comprehensive response plan for cyber incidents and make sure employees know what to do when an attack occurs. This can help a business effectively mitigate, contain, and recover from cyberattacks. 

 
 

7.               Cyber Insurance – Consider obtaining cyber insurance to mitigate financial losses in case of an attack, as this can provide a safety net for unexpected expenses associated with system compromises.

8.               Employee Access Control – Limit employee access to sensitive data to only what is necessary for their role and have a system in place to regularly review and update access permissions.

9.               Regular Audits – Conduct regular security audits and penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities proactively. This is essential to help a business understand weak spots that cybercriminals may find easier to target.

 
 

10.            Stay Informed – Stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and trends. The landscape can evolve rapidly, with new threats emerging and attackers constantly adapting their tactics to exploit vulnerabilities.

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