Ransomware is considered one of the most dangerous types of malicious software. It is designed to take control of a victims’ devices, encrypt their files and then demands a ransom payment to the attacker, in order to regain the victim’s data. One study revealed that ransomware attacks increased by 195 percent in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. The study also revealed that the prevalence of ransomware attacks increased more than 500 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2018.
There are a number of ways ransomware can access a victim’s computer. One of the most common methods is phishing—a fraudulent attempt to obtain confidential information by pretending to be a trusted company in electronic communications such as text messaging, email and instant messaging. Once the victim downloads and opens the file containing malware, it can quickly take over their computer, especially if it comes with built-in social engineering tools that trick them into allowing administrative access.
Some ransomware is delivered via drive-by-download attacks on malicious or compromised websites.
In some forms of malware, the hacker might pretend to be a law enforcement agency locking the victim’s computer due to the presence of pirated software or pornography on it and demanding the payment of a “fine.”
Whether or not the ransom is paid, cybercriminals will always try to steal information from a compromised device. Assume all sensitive information on the computer was compromised, which includes usernames and passwords for internal web resources, email addresses, payment information, and more.
Ransomware can cause serious effects that can disrupt a company’s day-to-day operations and lead to data loss. The effects of ransomware attacks include:
Apart from the ransom, the cost of downtime due to inaccessible data can bring major impacts to the victimized companies. In fact, losses due to downtime cost a company an average of $5,000 to $20,000 a day.
The methods that businesses use to protect themselves from ransomware attacks haven’t improved at the same pace as the attackers. However, there are a few actions that businesses can take to help reduce risk and limit the consequence of a ransomware attack.
The most effective strategy for stopping ransomware attacks is to prevent them from ever entering the company network.
Want to learn more about how to beat ransomware? Get in touch with Integritek today!