Ransomware is one of the most difficult things that handle in cyber security. Programs like these start their history with the first computer viruses, and are a favorite by cyber criminals. But what exactly is ransomware and how can it affect your business?
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a malicious malware software that gets into your files and stops you from gaining access. Once ransomware is in your network it is only a matter of time until you experience data loss or are left a ransom note.
The goal of just about all forms of ransomware involve extorting money from the victim.
According to Check Point researchers ,Cerber infected 150,000 victims in July 2016 alone, earning an estimated $195,000 – of which $78,000 went to the ransomware's authors. (digitalguardian.com)
It is an extremely effective and easy way for cyber criminals to extort businesses into getting money. Ransomware attacks are effective, hard to fight, and can be difficult to clean on your own.
For this reason its extremely important to protect yourself as much as possible.
How does Ransomware Infection Start?
Ransomware attacks usually start as a phishing attack. This can come in the form of an email that requires a login that a hacker will steal, or giving access to a program that you think is safe.
Phishing attacks use social engineering into tricking the user into giving personal data. The attackers will use this personal data to gain access into your network and attack your sensitive data.
Once this sort of Malware attack is under way it can morph into a much more sophisticated attack. They can sit and watch your weaknesses before launching an attack that encrypts your data. If they encrypt your data then you are at the mercy of the attacker, and most people are forced to pay the ransomware demand.
A survey conducted by Symantec Security Research Center show 70 percent of the businesses infected with ransomware had paid a ransom to regain access to their business data and systems. (nbcnews.com)
The Current Threat
Ransomware attacks having become a billion dollar industry. There is an entire black market around creating ransomware software that is sold to attackers. The people who create the software get a cut of the profits and the rest goes to the attacker.
Ransoms can range from a few thousands dollars, to much more. This makes small businesses just as vulnerable as large corporations. Entire cities have felt the pressure from sophisticated cyber attacks.
The City of Atlanta spent more than $2.6 million on emergency efforts to respond to a ransomware attack that destabilized municipal operations... Attackers, who infected the city's systems with the pernicious SamSam malware, asked for a ransom of roughly $50,000 worth of bitcoin... [T]he attackers quickly took the payment portal offline, and left the city to fend for itself. So far, the recovery has been far more costly than the initial demand. (wired.com)
How to Protect yourself from Cyber Attacks
There is no 100% guarantee when it comes to cyber security. The best solution is to arm yourself with a variety of tools and cyber security protocols that can protect you from most attacks.
As mentioned before, most attacks are launched by lazy attackers who buy an attacking program on the black market. They are not looking to target someone specifically. Usually they are just attacking those who are most vulnerable.
Our suggestion is to work with security experts who can help you secure your network before loss occurs.
A good managed IT service provider can help you secure your network and monitor any suspicious activity. These security experts can help through a variety of means.
- ensure that you network is not left with open ports in your firewall
- establish a secure VPN
- Provide cyber security training
Having a great managed service provider on your team is a great way to have a whole security team on your side.
It's always best to address ransomware security problems before you are attacked, and left with a closed business.
Reach out to our great team to learn how our managed IT services can help protect your businesses from possible cyber attacks!
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