Business Owner’s Guide to Reporting Ransomware Attacks

Your employee innocently clicks on a malicious email attachment containing ransomware, and all of a sudden, your business is thrust into a nightmare scenario. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your business’s data, making it inaccessible to you unless you pay a ransom to the attacker. This can have devastating consequences for your business, including loss of revenue, productivity, and even damage to your reputation.

If you’re a business owner who has experienced a ransomware attack, it’s important to know how to properly report the incident. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to report a ransomware attack to the proper authorities.

1. Notify Your Local FBI Field Office

The first step you should take after suffering a ransomware attack is to notify your local FBI field office. The FBI is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating cybercrime, and they have a dedicated team of agents who focus specifically on ransomware attacks.

When you contact the FBI, be prepared to provide them with as much information about the attack as possible. This should include when the attack occurred, how many systems were affected, what type of data was encrypted, and whether or not you paid the ransom demand. The more information you can provide, the better equipped the FBI will be to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

2. Fill Out a Cyber Incident Report

The next step in reporting a ransomware attack is to fill out a cyber incident report. This report is used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect data about cyber incidents, and it can be completed online at their website.

When filling out the report, you’ll need to provide information about the attack, including when it occurred, how many systems were affected, what type of data was encrypted, and whether or not you paid the ransom demand. You’ll also need to provide contact information so that DHS can follow up with you if necessary.

3. Contact Your Local Technology Crime Unit

In addition to reporting the incident to the FBI and DHS, you should also contact your local technology crime unit. These units are typically part of a state or local law enforcement agency, and they investigate crimes that involve the use of technology.

When you contact the unit, be prepared to provide them with information about the attack, including when it occurred, how many systems were affected, what type of data was encrypted, and whether or not you paid the ransom demand. The more information you can provide, the better equipped the unit will be to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

4. Notify Your Insurance Provider

If you have cyber insurance, you should notify your insurance provider as soon as possible after suffering a ransomware attack. Cyber insurance typically covers the cost of restoring data that has been lost or corrupted due to a cyberattack, and it may also cover the cost of paying a ransom demand if that is deemed necessary.

Be sure to read your policy carefully so that you understand what is and isn’t covered, and notify your provider as soon as possible so that they can begin the claims process.

5. Take Steps to Prevent Future Attacks

Once you’ve reported the incident and taken steps to mitigate the damage, it’s important to take steps to prevent future attacks. This includes implementing strong security measures, such as two-factor authentication and data encryption, and training your employees on how to identify and avoid phishing scams. If you need assistance with implementing these measures, you may want to consider hiring a cybersecurity consultant.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you properly report a ransomware attack and take steps to prevent future attacks.

Chris Turn