Gone are the days when computer issues were a problem that only that only concerned the IT team. These days, malware is a growing cause of business interruption and financial loss. No industry is immune to the current wave of cybercrime. For the construction industry, two threats stand out: ransomware and hacked equipment.
Threat One: Ransomware
On May 12, a program called WannaCry infected computers all over the world. The WannaCry program, also known as the WannaCrypt program, is what’s commonly called ransomware. It encrypts the files it finds on a computer. It also delivers a digital ransom note requiring payment in exchange for the return of the files.
The WannaCry infection caused enough chaos worldwide to make headlines, but it’s far from the first ransomware attack. The FBI warned that ransomware attacks surged in early 2016, and that one particular variant infected approximately 100,000 computers a day.
When a company is attacked with ransomware, the loss of important files leads to an interruption of business. Additionally, the company may lose money restoring equipment. Many companies also lose money because they decide to pay the ransom. The FBI does not recommend this – it encourages crime – but many businesses decide they must in order to restore normal business operations as quickly as possible.
To avoid a ransomware infection:
- Make sure your antivirus software and operating system are up to date. Using unsupported or pirated software can leave you vulnerable to new attacks. Microsoft has confirmed that this was a major factor in the spread of the WannaCry infection.
- Avoid clicking on links from unknown senders. Train all employees on cyber safety.
- Schedule routine backups of all essential files.
Threat Two: Hacked Equipment
In addition to dealing with the growing problem of ransomware, the construction industry must also be on guard against hacked equipment.
In what’s become a popular prank, hackers change the message on roadside construction signs. Buzzfeed has a list of their favorite messages, which are generally meant to be funny and often include warnings of a zombie apocalypse. Despite laws against such mischief, a quick internet search reveals instructions on how to do it.
Other hacks are less humorous. The FBI warns that modern vehicles can be hacked, and scientists at John Hopkins have shown that drones can be hacked. As the construction industry grows increasingly tech savvy, the threat of cybercrime increases.
This means that advances in technology must be accompanied by an increasing awareness of the associated risks. Companies in all industries must stay on top of the latest threats and take basic precautions against them. Is your business protected by cyber insurance? Contact BNC Insurance to learn more.