Ransomware Protection for Jewelers: Prevention and Response Tips
Brought to you by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group
When most jewelers talk about the security of their businesses, they think in terms of safes, alarms, and vaults. While robberies, thefts, and burglaries are still the most real threats, cyber-attacks are becoming a major concern. As technology continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, criminals are developing tactics to target your assets without ever stepping foot in your business. One of those tactics is ransomware and it can severely hinder businesses that are impacted by it. In an age where even the most run-of-the-mill businesses and individuals are targets, ransomware protection for jewelers is an absolute necessity.
What is a Ransomware Attack?
Ransomware is a virus that can attach itself to a very harmless looking email or website, often from a legitimate-looking company. Once opened or activated, the virus infects your files and requires a “secret code” to be removed. Then, a ransom note appears on your screen, typically demanding a certain amount of money to receive the code. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the hackers will provide the code in return, and even if they do, you won’t know if the code will actually unlock your files until after you have transferred money. An example is the WannaCry virus, which brought ransomware attacks to the mainstream spotlight in 2017 and has made people in every industry take cyber threats more seriously.
How to Prevent a Ransomware Attack
Aside from the costly implications of a ransomware infection, imagine being unable to process any transaction through your network for days or weeks!
Follow these tips to protect your jewelry business from ransomware attacks:
- Only use secured wireless providers to gain internet access and encrypt your router to protect your connection.
- Computers should be frequently checked with anti-malware, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software.
- If you are on a website that seems suspicious, leave it immediately.
- Run ad-blocking applications on corporate machines.
- Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.
- Confirm computer screens and confidential information is out of sight of your customers and visitors.
- Properly dispose of sensitive information by destroying or wiping hard drives.
- Back-up your information.
- Create a plan.
How to Respond to a Ransomware Attack
If your business does experience a ransomware attack, contact law enforcement immediately. Any attack on your business should be reported to the police so they can record any hacking incident. If customer data —such as credit cards details — is lost, you will need to notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FBI also has a website devoted to reporting internet fraud, known as the Internet Crime Complain Center or ic3.gov. If you believe sensitive information — such as customer data — has been compromised in the attack, you may want to contact an attorney for advice. There are laws that require you to notify your customers and you may face fines as a result of a potential data breach.
Extra Protection from Cyber-Attacks
No jewelry business should be without a properly functioning alarm or fortified safe, and now it’s clear that no business in general should be without protection from cyber threats like ransomware.
Similar to protecting your inventory from a robbery with jewelers block insurance, ransomware protection for jewelers is available with cyber liability insurance.
A cyber liability policy from Jewelers Mutual goes beyond ransomware, too. It also guards against threats like*:
- Phishing schemes
- Income loss, interruption expenses, and data recovery costs
- Fines or penalties due to non-compliance with payment card standards
Discuss the details of a policy with a Jewelers Mutual agent for additional peace of mind.