What is Ransomware and how to protect your Business
Ransomware is one of the greatest threats facing businesses across the globe today. In 2017 Ransomware infected more than 4000 businesses per day worldwide. In fact, one of the biggest cyber-attacks of 2017 was the WannaCry Ransomware that wreaked havoc on business, banks and even governments. Ransomware, essentially cyber extortion, has grown to be a billion-dollar industry unto itself.
Showcasing the disruptive power of Ransomware would be the WannaCry incident at The National Health Service(NHS) in Britain. Key systems were infected and they were forced to turn away patients and cancel surgery appointments.
Due to its effectiveness Ransomware is expected to continue to grow rapidly year-over-year.
How does Ransomware work?
Criminals use Ransomware malware to lock and encrypt files on an infected computer and demand that the victims pay for their files to be decrypted. Files that are locked cannot be unlocked/decrypted without paying the ransom.
In certain instances, the criminals may even threaten that the victim to pay or their information will be made public or deleted forever.
Payment may be demanded in Bitcoins as this is a Crypto-currency that cannot be tracked. In most cases, a trigger activates the Trojan, which encrypts and locks down the system using emails and download attachments. A computer that is infected with Ransomware Trojan will lock either part or all of the data on the hard drive, allowing only the hackers to access the encrypted files.
The victim would need to pay a ransom amount in order to receive the decryption key. The victim can only access the files after receiving the decryption key or risks losing the data otherwise.
Financial Cost of Ransomware
Criminals understand that the bigger the disruption they create for a business, the more likely they are to be paid.
Businesses that cannot afford downtime and do not have adequately managed backup, antivirus or security, have little choice but to pay the ransom. Hence, the financial cost of Ransomware infections for businesses can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable as they do not have appropriate counter measures in place because they cannot afford or lack critical IT knowledge.