What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is defined as a type of malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access files. Malware or unauthorized software can be illegally embedded into a computer system or mobile device from a cybercriminal. Loss of data as a result of a ransomware attack is potentially irreversible and can cost businesses millions of dollars in losses.
Types of Ransomware
There are a few different approaches to what ransomware attacks look like. Ransomware will lock-down, encrypt or dox the system or device until the victim of the attack complies with the cybercriminal’s demands and pays the ransom for the data.
- Lock-down – In a lock-down the cybercriminal has completely locked you out. You cannot access any of your data. There is no way to log in or get back into the system without following the instructions of the cybercriminal.
- Encryption – Encryption is when you can still access your data, but the cybercriminal has encrypted the data so that you can no longer interpret it. Your data cannot be used again without the encryption key from the cybercriminal.
- Doxxing – Doxxing is a threat from a cybercriminal that has obtained confidential data from you and threatens to publish it. You would have to comply with the cybercriminal to try to keep them from doing so.
One thing remains the same in all of these ransomware attacks that sets them apart from other types of cyberattacks and it is that the perpetrator is demanding payment. The perpetrator is a cybercriminal – there is nothing guaranteed when dealing with a criminal. You may pay the ransom that the cybercriminal is demanding, and data may still not be recovered resulting in a massive loss for your business.
Ransomware Statistics You Should Know
By April 2020, 62% of organizations had reported ransomware attacks. According to a market research study by CyberEdge Group, in 2019, 45% of ransomware victims paid the ransom – and just over half of ransom payers actually recovered their data. Today, 58% of ransomware victims, from every industry, have paid ransom – 67% of ransom payers have reported recovering their data from ransomware hackers in 2020.
Some important financial statistics from CompariTech:
- Ransomware induced downtime costs organizations more than $64,000 on average.
- Businesses are losing more than $75 billion per year due to ransomware.
- The FBI suggests that ransom payments are totaling about $1 billion.
The average loss for business is $2,500 per ransomware attack, however businesses and governments spend millions recovering their data. Ransomware attacks can cost businesses hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts ransomware will cost $6 trillion annually by 2021. Ransomware is not going away. The ransom itself is not what costs the most for businesses, but the downtime and recovery primarily stack up the financial loss.
How to Protect Your Business from Ransomware
Some steps to protect your business from ransomware attacks are:
- Educate – It is eminently important for employees to be educated on cyberattacks, especially ransomware attacks. Employees should know to avoid opening suspicious emails and to carefully examine attachments and links before opening them in emails. Email is one of the primary methods for distributing ransomware and one email could cost your business a great deal of loss.
- Update – Updating software and operating systems often corrects weaknesses in the system that can be vulnerable to cyberattacks like ransomware. Keeping systems updated can help prevent and protect you from attacks. Failing to update can leave you much more vulnerable to a ransomware attack.
- Back-Up – Your business should regularly have data files backed up in a separate location that is not shared with other devices. Should a ransomware attack be successful, restoring from a back-up is the best action a busines can take to avoid paying the ransom and losing critical data.
- Appoint – Appoint a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). An appointed CISO to monitor and secure your company’s data can greatly reduce the risk of a data breach, thus further preventing data and financial loss for your business.
It is crucial to protect your business from ransomware attacks to prevent informational and monetary losses. Taking the above steps can drastically reduce the chances of a cybersecurity breach. NXTsoft can help you protect your most important asset. Our security experts and resources can help you keep your data secure from cyberattacks like ransomware through the rest of 2020 and beyond!