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Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face serious threats from ransomware after the number of attacks rose by a factor of eight in the past year.

The Kaspersky Security Network division revealed that it detected and blocked 27,471 attempts by hackers to infect and encrypt small firms’ data between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016. The firm noticed just 3,224 attacks the year before.

Kaspersky warned that SMEs need to be aware of ransomware and make sure they have preventative measures in place. One of these measures is to warn employees not to click on any dodgy looking emails, as ransomware commonly arrives in the form of a phishing attack.

The firm also said that companies and their employees should be clued up on how to make back-ups of critical data, how to update software on devices used for work, and how to implement high-end information security solutions. Preferably those with Kaspersky branding on them, no doubt.

Kaspersky’s Vladimir Zapolyansky, head of SMB marketing at the firm, explained that small firms should not ignore the threat from ransomware as they make tempting targets for crooks.

“When it comes to ransomware, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee that data will be returned safely,” he said.

“To ensure protection from ransomware and other types of attacks, businesses need to implement reliable, up-to-date information security solutions as a preventative measure. It is always easier to prevent threats than to respond to them when the damage has already been done.”

Kaspersky warned that businesses that aren’t prepared for ransomware attacks will have a pretty rough time, claiming that 55 per cent of businesses surveyed said it took several days to restore access to encrypted data after being attacked.

A report released in August revealed that over half of UK businesses have been hit by ransomware, and that the money-grabbing attack left almost 10 per cent “entirely unable to operate”.

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