Just as we were starting to think that ransomware was on its way out, it turns out that 2019 was a big year for it. Ransomware is an extremely profitable style of cyberattack in which hackers take over computer systems and data hold the victim hostage until the victim hands over a payoff. It’s estimated that about $7.5 billion is lost annually to ransomware in the US alone. With approximately 113 governmental agencies, 700 health care providers and over 1000 schools being impacted by ransomware attacks, it’s evident that these attacks are here to stay. And now, small and medium-sized businesses are the new favorite target for these attacks. The reason for this is that this target group has the reputation of being less diligent in their approach to cybersecurity than larger organizations. Knowing that getting an organization “cyber ready” is a daunting task does not help. Many times, the idea of allocating precious personnel and funds to this effort as opposed to sales and daily operations is just not tenable.
The World Economic Forum 2018 Global Risks Report states that one of the top three risks to global stability over the next five years is cyber-attacks. While you may not be able to solve global risks directly, there is a straightforward action you can take to get cyber-ready within your organization. Here it is – drum roll, please – transition away from Windows 7!
It is estimated that one out of every four businesses is still running Windows 7 in their business environment. If you are running Windows 7 in your business, its time you consider upgrading to Windows 10 as soon as possible! Microsoft officially ended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. Computers running Windows 7 will still function but will become increasingly less secure as Microsoft will not be patching or resolving any critical security issues that users encounter in the future. This transition is vital for your organization to be cyber-ready because the Windows 7 user base is a prime hunting ground for ransomware attacks. With the deadline now gone, it’s imperative for businesses that haven’t moved from Windows 7 to make the shift.