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August 24, 2018. | Data security Infrastructure News

Ransomware on the rise

Ransomware

Not all hackers unlock their victims’ data when they pay the ransom.

With the ability to cripple your businesses’ IT systems unless you pay up, a ransomware attack could cost your company thousands, both in terms of productivity and in simple money terms.

Ransomware is a fairly new type of virus, but its ability to down a company’s IT system in a heartbeat should not be taken lightly.

Cost

According to British security software company Sophos, the median cost to businesses was US$133,000 with just over half of businesses being hit by such an attack in the last year while five per cent of businesses surveyed were hit by an attack costing more than US$1.3 million.

Unlike spam emails, which work on a scattergun approach trying to catch out one person from thousands of recipients, ransomware attacks can be specifically targeted in a number of ways, leaving financial organisations in particular vulnerable to attack.

Ransomware hackers

And once ransomware hackers have accessed a business’ network, they demand payment to unlock files, normally via Bitcoins, making the criminals difficult to trace.

Even worse, a report from SentinelOne claimed just a quarter of businesses which paid the ‘fine’ actually had their files unlocked afterwards, while 73% were then targeted again at a later date.

Threats

And if the threat of having your data encrypted making it inaccessible was not bad enough, hackers often threaten their victims, as Penta Service Specialist Angelos Papadoloulos explains :

Penta Service Specialist Angelos Papadopoulos

Penta Service Specialist Angelos Papadopoulos

“The criminals behind ransomware attacks often play with the fear of their victims. Not only do they threaten to lock them out from their valuable data, but they often also threaten to release their victims’ private information – anything from their website login details, their pictures or even their browser history – just to make them pay.

“Ransomware is a very serious threat today, and there have been many cases where victims have paid the hackers, but still not had their data unlocked. In many cases the hackers are actually unable to actually fix the damage their attacks have done.”

“Victims are left in a very dangerous position – either they pay the hackers and take the risk of paying for nothing, or they refuse and risk having their private data leaked online, which can really damage their lives.

“Still, we can all take simple steps to reduce the chances of this happening to us. Keeping your login details safe, having secure passwords and never entering your details onto websites or through wifi networks you do not trust. Even these simple steps can go a long way to preventing you from falling victim to these dangerous attacks.”

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) advocates a series of mitigation techniques, one of which is ensuring your organisation effectively backs up important data in the event of an attack.

Backup

Penta recognises any downtime can badly affect your business, employing sophisticated backup and disaster recovery systems and monitoring them constantly to ensure everything runs smoothly.

And in the event of a data disaster, Penta offers immediate, 24-hour intervention by expert engineers to get things back on track. Penta also uses the latest hardware and technology to watch out for and react to new and emerging threats to keep your company protected.

 Ransoms without guarantees

 No guarantees
 Ransomware attackers not unlocking victims’ data
 Tech Republic 

 Live attacks
 US Police losing evidence to ransomware attack
 UK National Cyber Security Centre

 Currency of crime
 Bitcoins being used to channel ransomware payments
 US Center for Internet Security

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