Ransomware is malware that encrypts your business’s data and holds it for ransom. It’s a genuine threat that every company should take seriously, regardless of size or industry.
It can cause damage, including reputational harm and legal issues. It can also lead to lost revenue and customer dissatisfaction.
It’s a Silent Threat
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts the files on a computer, making them inaccessible without a key known only to the attacker. The attackers then demand payment through bitcoin or another cryptocurrency to unlock the victim’s data.
It’s not just small businesses that are vulnerable to ransomware attacks; large organizations can suffer significant losses. For example, Norsk Hydro reported a loss of nearly $70 million after a ransomware attack.
Aside from the financial cost, companies face reputational damage, legal exposure, and fines. Some cyber insurance policies also offer a range of coverages, including data recovery services and reimbursement of business downtime costs after a ransomware attack.
So, how to prevent ransomware? Ensure you’re taking steps to protect yourself from ransomware before it tries to infiltrate your network. Ensure to update software, use email authentication and other security measures, and set up your systems so they automatically update their protections when new patches are released.
If you suspect your systems have been infected by ransomware, immediately shut down the system and disconnect it from your network. Then, notify IT security staff and hibernate the machine to prevent it from reinitiating the encryption process.
Then, ask the attackers to prove they have the decryption key to unlock your files. It’s always good practice to have a forensic team examine the system. This will help you determine whether you should pay the ransom and allow you to recover your data.
It’s a Targeted Attack
Ransomware is often a targeted attack on an organization. It is commonly used against government agencies, utilities, universities, and other businesses with a large user base.
Once infected, ransomware can move laterally across a network to further encrypt other machines. This lateral movement allows the attacker to expand their reach quickly.
The most common infection vector is malicious email attachments. These are often designed to look like a trusted company or person has sent them. This could be a way for hackers to sneak into an organization not using antivirus software or other protective measures to protect against malicious emails.
Typically, these attachments contain a link to a website that hosts a malware download. If the email’s recipient opens it, the malware is automatically downloaded and executed on their computer instantly.
Another common infection vector is phishing and social engineering scams. These are often designed to trick users into thinking they have a legitimate business or financial opportunity by offering them something valuable in exchange for their personal information.
The attackers then encrypt the data. Then they send a demand for payment. Unless the victim pays them within a specified time frame, they are prevented from accessing their files.
It’s a Moneymaker
Ransomware is a computer virus that has wreaked havoc on businesses and organizations, big and small, around the world for the past few years. And it’s not going away anytime soon.
One of the most disturbing things about ransomware is that it’s become a moneymaker for cybercriminals. According to new research by Kela Security, attacks have increased dramatically over the last year, and criminals increasingly use ransomware to extort victims.
This has caused a spike in malware-related remediation costs for companies. A recent study by Kela showed that over the past 12 months, remediation costs for ransomware have increased by more than 50%.
This increase is because criminals are making more money with ransomware attacks than ever. Because it’s a low-risk money maker, it can quickly create large sums of cash.
They can also extort more money from victims by threatening to destroy their files if they don’t pay the ransom. This has created a snowball effect, where ransomware hackers target more businesses.
This is why it’s so essential for companies to have a solid incident response plan in place that’s practiced regularly. With a plan in place, businesses are much less likely to need to pay an attacker.
It’s a Resilient Threat
Ransomware has evolved into a resilient threat that can cause devastating organizational disruptions. It is a form of malware that uses encrypted data to block access to the system until the victim pays a ransom fee. The payment can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands.
Experts predict that ransomware attacks will occur every 11 seconds in 2021, with victims making at least $2B in payments since the beginning of 2019. Understanding the impact of these attacks and how to prepare your organization for a successful recovery is essential.
One strategy is to institute an air-gapped data protection strategy that replicates data to cloud storage or frequently backs data to removable media. This will improve your ability to recover from a ransomware attack and prevent future infections.
Another strategy is to have an expert team assess your organization’s resilience to ransomware. This will include a risk assessment considering people, processes, and technology.
A resilience approach will help an organization prepare, communicate, and respond to attacks before they cause any harm to your business or your customers. It will also help you understand the best way to minimize risk and keep your business running smoothly during an attack.