Ransomware Protection: Your Secret Weapon in the War Against Cyber Extortion
The FBI estimates that ransomware cost US businesses over $1 Billion in 2016. According to the FBI, ransomware attacks cost US businesses more than $1 billion in 2016. The prime targets? Well, most ransomware attacks (67%) are directed at small businesses that have valuable data but may not have cutting-edge IT security and monitoring in place. Cybercriminals target one thing: they want your money and will use ransomware to take your business data hostage until you pay.
According to the FBI, ransomware attacks cost US businesses more than $1 billion in 2016. The prime targets? Well, most ransomware attacks (67%) are directed at small businesses that have valuable data but may not have cutting-edge IT security and monitoring in place. Cybercriminals target one thing: they want your money and will use ransomware to take your business data hostage until you pay. The questions you should ask yourself are:
- How are businesses like mine impacted by the explosion of ransomware attacks?
- What IS a ransomware attack?
- How can I protect my company from becoming a victim?
So how can a business like your be impacted by a malware (ransomware) attack? Take a look at this California-based property management firm’s experience…which simply started with a suspicious email. The email was so well-crafted, it bypassed the firm’s email security, DNS blocking service, and anti-virus software.
The user that received the email, downloaded the attached zip file and the virus started encrypting files on the local and shared resources. Among the shared resources infected was a folder containing 85,000 files used by the firm’s Construction division. In virtually no time, the damage was done. “More hackers are going out and buying anti-virus software and figuring out ways to bypass them. The only way to be safe is with a backup,” explained Tim McCoy, the company’s MSP provider.
This company contracted an outside managed IT provider. The IT firm knew immediately that this was a ransomware attack. They were able to remotely identify the client’s backup device/portal and restore all data from the last backup before the attack. Ransomware was successfully defeated, and the firm experienced zero downtime.
One of the best ways to avoid being in this firm’s situation is to know what you are looking for and how to avoid it. So, what exactly IS ransomware? Ransomware is a term for many variations of malware that can infect your computer system; usually through a targeted social engineering scheme. These malicious software attacks lock your files and demand payment to access them. Your files are then encrypted with the malware infection and are rendered inaccessible to you, the owner, and the only tool available to decrypt and access this files is the private “key” that the cybercriminal holds. Sometimes these files are marked for permanent deletion or internet publication if the payment is not made in a specified timeframe (usually in an untraceable currency like Bitcoin). These ransomware attacks are infamous and widespread; CryptoLocker, KeyRanger, TeslaCrypt among others.
The perpetrators of ransomware are cybercriminals who profit greatly by violating businesses that rely on data as a lifeblood. They are organized and profitable, and it is estimated that this type of attack earns criminals $10 million to $50 million per month. The overhead is low, the profits are high, the Bitcoin is anonymous, the list of targets is endless, the technology is not overly complicated, and the odds of getting caught are low. Ransomware perpetrators are sophisticated, profit-hungry, cybercriminals on the lookout for unsuspecting SMBs to violate.
Ransomware is constantly evolving and it can be difficult to keep up with the strategies and tools to protect yourself and your business. Click here to get the top 5 immediate steps to prevent ransomware attacks in your business.