Ransomware attacks are occurring with more sophistication and frequency. In a ransomware attack the criminal uses encryption or a screen lock to make information inaccessible. Many such attacks seek to extort money from the victim, where the hacker demands a ransom in exchange for file decryption. If the victim fails to pay, the extortionist increases the ransom amount or threatens to publish or destroy the information.
Globally, organizations have lost billions of dollars through internet scams. Ransomware attacks increased by 150% in 2020. A survey by Sophos revealed that 51% of organizations experienced a ransomware attack in 2020. Out of those attempts, 73% were successful.
How Ransomware Attacks Take Place
One of the oldest tricks for ransomware attacks is through a phishing email. Here, all a hacker needs to know is an email address of a company or one of its employees. The email in this instance contains a downloadable file or a link. When an unsuspecting employee downloads the file or clicks the link, the ransomware installs on their computer. Other types of ransomware, such as the WannaCry worm, can spread on their own through a computer network.
Today, ransomware attacks are increasing due to heavy reliance on computing technology. Plus, being tech-savvy is no longer a requirement to be a ransomware extortionist. Any cyber-criminal can acquire this malware from the growing online market. Once the non-tech thieves launch the attack, they share their profits with the ransomware creators.
What You Should Do After an Attack
After a ransomware attack, first, inform senior management and the legal department.
If you have a cyber-insurance policy, inform the insurance company and the law enforcement agencies. The decision to pay a ransom rests on senior management. Before deciding to pay the ransom, consider the sensitivity of the information, the company’s reputation, and the availability of a backup.
How To Minimize the Risk of Ransomware Attacks
Below are some measures to prevent or minimize the risk of a ransomware attack.
- Educate your employees on how to handle suspicious emails
- Create back-ups regularly and separate them from the main system
- Use multi-factor authentication on all company accounts
- Use security software and update it regularly
- Consider taking a cyber-insurance policy
- Create a recovery plan from a ransomware attack
With the current increase in ransomware attacks, no company is safe. But with good planning and preventive measures, you can minimize the impact of a ransomware attack on your business.
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