With ransomware attacks, most people today have grown very much at home in the digital environment. Being online is now such a part of our daily lives. We chat with friends, go to meetings, do our shopping, and so many other things, all on our computers and mobile devices. And as we enjoy these technological conveniences of modern life, internet dangers lurk in every corner, yet many of us are unaware of them. A large majority of these dangers today come at us as ransomware.
Ransomware is a form of malicious software that hackers employ to take your data or render it inaccessible, only relinquishing it after you pay a ransom. It’s just like how a regular ransom operation goes, except that the hostage, in this case, is data.
These attacks seldom happen independently. Usually, they are a component of a complex phishing strategy. Over the years, online criminals have developed more sophisticated methods to lure average individuals and even educated professionals.
These days, it would surprise you at the hefty sums that exchange hands. Some multinational companies have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars because of a ransomware attack!
Ransomware has become a daily thing and is now one of the leading online threats worldwide. From 2020 to 2021, the number of ransomware attacks doubled. Throughout the pandemic, there has been a shift in the approach to large corporations that pay higher ransoms.
What’s the reason for the rise? Because it works. Sometimes the ransom seems unbelievably high, but it’s not a random number. Hackers consider how big a company is and how much they value its data. In setting a ransom, they make it lower than the price of data restoration. Hence, companies opt to pay the hackers and rely on their backup strategy. While the FBI discourages companies from paying the ransom, it might seem the only viable option.
Ransomware attacks get mentioned in the news because hackers target governments and private businesses. Florida has seen seven separate ransomware attacks in 7 municipalities. Tallahassee paid half a million dollars in ransom to get their data back, using money that was supposed to be for employee payroll. In another case, the Riviera Beach government paid $600,000 worth of Bitcoin after a staff member became a victim of a phishing attack.
Even national governments have become victims of ransomware attacks. In Ecuador, over 40 million attempts took place to hack into their system, and they spent massive amounts of money to retrieve stolen data.
The best strategy for thwarting ransomware attacks is the same method for avoiding many other kinds of online threats. Take a proactive approach. Protect your system before the attack happens. Should a breach occur, you must also have a backup and recovery plan to fall back on.
Phishing is one of the most common means of entry for ransomware attacks. If you have trained your employees in online safety measures, these attacks are easy to remedy. You can use our Employee Readiness Check to gauge how your staff stands in terms of awareness of phishing and other online threats.
Do you think your business is ready for a ransomware attack? We can help you make an assessment. Call us today, and we will build a cybersecurity strategy to protect you from this increasingly dangerous online threat.
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