Hack Day: Ransomware: Protective steps

Gareth Hemming

Gareth Hemming, director of SME, commercial insurance, counters Swifty’s Ransomware attack and explains how you and your clients can stay protected.

The digital world is every evolving and cyber criminals are getting smarter. There are so many different ways that they can target your company and Ransomware is one of those methods, as Swifty’s article outlining the threats highlights.

When you see the message on your screen that your files are frozen and will be destroyed as well as the threat of hackers potentially attacking your customers, it’s a terrifying, heart stopping moment.

Fear and, quite understandably, panic sets in. What do you do? How do you fix this? How do you make the hackers go away? Does your company have the right resources in place to manage this situation?

It’s worth remembering that official government figures show that 17% of all cyber-attacks in 2017 involved Ransomware so this is one of the first threats you should arm yourself against.

How do you prevent Ransomware from hitting your business?
From opening a malicious attachment in an email to visiting a corrupt website and opening infected files to connecting to a corrupt USB drive.  It’s easy for hackers to infiltrate your systems.

But it’s really easy to take some simple steps to protect against ransomware. If you don’t recognise who an email is from – don’t reply to it or go to any of the links. Only visit reputable and trusted websites and definitely make sure that your antivirus, antispyware and firewall are all up to date.

You also need to update your software often, the fewer the holes there are to be exploited, the greater the chances of staying protected. Finally, regularly back up your data, so you’ll always have access to it.

What can you do you protect your business against Ransomware?
It’s also really important that everyone in your business is aware of what Ransomware is and how they can avoid it. People are the biggest risk to inviting Ransomware into your business but they are also the biggest ally against it.

They are the ones who can be vigilant against someone trying to penetrate your systems. Not clicking on untrusted links, going to un-reputable websites or downloading files from unknown resources can all help manage the risks.

Support everyone in your business to be vigilant against Ransomware.

If you are hit by Ransomware, what do you do?
Speed is of the essence when there’s a Ransomware attack. Not all businesses are equipped to deal with ransomware so you may need to engage expert forensics to contain the infection, investigate what type of data has been affected and how it happened.

If you suspect personal information has been exposed then it’s also important to get legal and PR consultancy to minimise the effect of the breach on your company’s reputation.

Many insurers offer cyber cover to protect businesses against Ransomware attack – including us here at Aviva. We believe it’s really important to get the right level of cover in place as cyber criminals are smart, but you can put up your best defences against them.

Keep checking the website to learn how spyware, phishing and impersonation attacks might look and what you can do to stop them.

And be sure to check in with our live updates and webinars which reveal the latest insight into the cyber insurance world.

What is the aim of Hack Day?

Insurance Age and Aviva believe that understanding cyber threats are mission critical to the success of brokers today. That’s why Insurance Age is hosting a full website takeover!

As part of the day our intrepid content editor Jonathan Swift (Swifty) is delving into the mind of a malicious hacker and highlighting exactly what they can do to damage your business and the business of your clients. He shows how four types of hack work and the impact they can have.

We also have a series of articles from Aviva’s head of SME, commercial insurance who explains how to counter the four types of hack and explains how brokers can protect themselves and their clients.

Throughout the day Insurance Age is also hosting a series of live presentations and panel discussions to highlight the latest thinking around cyber insurance and offer brokers the best insight into this dynamic world.


This article is intended to provide a high-level overview and should not be relied upon without further advice or investigation.  Aviva is not responsible for its accuracy.  Whilst we take reasonable care in providing it, we will not be liable for any loss incurred as a result of any person relying or not relying on it, provided that we do not exclude or limit in any way any liability where it would be unlawful to do so.

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