You’ve probably noticed that hacking has been in the news more lately. Specifically ransomware attacks. These are the attacks where files are encrypted and a ransom demand is made to decrypt the files. Usually you’ll hear about a company’s “network” files being held for ransom. This refers to the files that run a company’s internal network. Think of a large organization with hundreds of employees who share files and devices (printers, routers, etc.). The files that run the servers are essential to the working environment. When they’re locked up, so is productivity.
That’s nice, but I don’t run a huge business
Website hacks are usually more simplistic and easier to recover from. That’s the good news. The bad news is a website hosting company could be target of ransomware. As far as I know, no major website hosting company has been hit with this kind of attack, but like I said earlier, ransomware attacks are on the rise. It may just be a matter of time. The United States and Russia seem to be on a collision course to an escalation of cyber attacks. That escalation could have quite a bit of collateral damage, including your website.
What can I do to prepare?
In a word – Backups. The easiest thing you can do is to have a backup of the text and images on your website. The better thing to do would be to make a backup of the files that make up your website and the database that drives it. Contact your hosting company to find out how to make these kind of backups. Download the files to your computer, but don’t stop there, since your computer can also be infected with viruses or even the same ransomware as your website. Copy your files onto something removable. If you don’t have a CD/DVD burner use USB thumb drives. This isn’t ideal since these can still be infected, but it’s a start. They aren’t consistently connected to the internet so they are safer than leaving the files on your computer. A DVD or CD is ideal since the files are written permanently and can’t be manipulated. Depending on how often you update your content, making backups every month or two (or three) should be sufficient.