According to a recent article published by NBC News, Ransomware is now officially a Billion-dollar-a-year crime – and GROWING!
If you weren’t already aware, Ransomware is this: “A family of malware that blocks access to a PC, server or mobile device, or encrypts all the data stored on that machine. It’s typically delivered via malicious email or infected third-party websites.” In order for the user to recover access to their PC or to their files, they are demanded to pay a ransom.
Ransom payments are growing exponentially. In 2015 alone they totaled up to $24 million, and by the end of 2016… totaled 1 billion dollars. Yes, you read that right. It’s almost as if it’s the Gold Rush of the modern day. And it’s expected to keep getting even worse. Digital Security experts explained [to NBC News] that this type of malware is getting increasingly sophisticated, and the encryption claiming the data is unbreakable. The victim is forced to pay.
At a time like this, it’s critical that businesses back up their data in order to prepare for a ransomware attack. Recently, there was a study released by IBM that surveyed 600 business leaders. According to the survey, 70 percent of the businesses that were infected with ransomware had paid the ransom in order to repossess their files. It also indicated that one-quarter of those businesses would be willing to pay upwards of tens of thousands of dollars to regain their data. Unfortunately, with attacks like these, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will unlock the files. Law enforcement discourages victims from paying the ransom, but many businesses confronted with an attack feel they have no choice.
So, all of this begs the question… How can I protect myself? First of all, be extremely cautious of suspicious emails and links. Think before you click. Most ransomware attacks are delivered through infected links or attachments. Second, have a strong backup solution in place where your data is properly stored and have a regular backup routine. Lastly, beef up your security software and make sure to establish proper password policies. Remember, this could happen to anyone. Our team has been seeing incidents more frequently than ever in the last several months. Best to be prepared!
If you would like to get more information, or to get a free consultation to help protect your business, please contact us at (952) 928-1788.