Recent studies have shown that close to 35% of Canadian organizations have been attacked at least once by ransomware in the past twelve months. Of that number, 43% suffered significant loss of revenue and 25% of these businesses had to halt their operations because of an infection of this type. The major problem with ransomware is that it now pays for hackers to attack you.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware installed on your computer without your knowledge that begins to encrypt and lock your files. Hackers have a way to unlock your data. Basically, they lock you out of your databases and won’t give your access back until a ransom is paid. In the first quarter of 2016 in the United States alone, the FBI estimated that $209 million was paid to cybercriminals for ransomware-related incidents. In Canada, ransomware attacks are much more expensive than in the United States, with most ransoms demanded here falling between $1,000 and $50,000.
How does ransomware get on your computer?
The most common ways to be infected with ransomware are via a fraudulent email disguised as a legitimate one and visiting malicious sites on the Internet. Fraudulent emails are the most common technique and hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated with every passing day.
A typical example...
Most companies have an email address similar to firstname.lastname@example.org. These addresses can receive a ton of emails from various freight carriers. Due to the volume of emails received by these carriers, the people who consult the emails do not necessarily pay attention to the sender. Since the fraudulent email looks for all intents and purposes identical to a legitimate one, people are fooled and click on links in the email, which is when the malware is installed.
What should I do if my system is infected?
Please do not pay the ransom demanded! If you do, you are financing hackers who will have more means to violate your rights. Call your local Millenium Micro Affiliate to understand the options available for getting your data back.
“The most common ways to be infected with ransomware are via a fraudulent email disguised as a legitimate one and visiting malicious sites on the Internet.”
How can you protect yourself from ransomware?
Although there is no magic recipe, a combination of several means produces results. Here is what you need to put in place:
Since no method is 100% effective, you need to plan for the worst. If despite all the measures put in place, your system becomes infected it is absolutely essential to have good backups to restore your data. Don’t be caught unaware, these issues must be discussed with your IT firm and the right strategy must be put in place.