Ransomware has grown in popularity since it first made itself known, but it wasn’t until just last year where it became a powerful presence in the cyber world. Ransomware encrypts the files of its victims and demands payment for the decryption key. In just one year, ransomware stole approximately $1 billion from its victims. Most notable, though, is that these victims were not just from large enterprises, but small companies, too.
The reasoning for this is that small and medium-sized businesses often feel like they aren’t a big enough target to get hit by ransomware. Unfortunately, all organizations that rely on data--especially sensitive personal information--will always find themselves at risk of hacking attacks, regardless of size. All that this impression does for your organization is put it at greater risk, as thinking that you’re immune means that you won’t take necessary precautions.
The way that ransomware works is by encrypting, or locking down, the data found on your device. Ransomware uses a time-sensitive threat in order to convince the user that they need to hand over the cash before their data will be deleted. If the victim pays up, they may (or may not) get a decryption key for the retrieval of their data. There’s no guarantee, though.
Ransomware for large corporations is designed to get as much money out of the victim as possible. Small businesses, on the other hand, may pay a smaller and more manageable ransom than a large business would. Compared to the costs of the fallout of such an attack, a small business may not have any other choice but to hand over the money.
Yet, this can be a problem in its own right, as there is no guarantee that you’ll get your data back. You shouldn’t expect hackers to keep their word--especially when they have just made a considerable amount of money from your organization. The fact remains that you shouldn’t rely on the goodwill of someone who actively threatens your business’s future. Plus, the more money you give to hackers, the more money you’re providing for the purpose of hacking others. You don’t want that on your conscience.
Think of it like this: selling a collector’s item for an exorbitant amount on eBay is only worth it if you can guarantee that someone is willing to pay that amount. It’s better to make a small guaranteed profit off of something multiple times, which is what these smaller ransomware payments try to accomplish.
Instead, you should avoid paying the ransom in general and focus on preventing the infection in the first place. Implement off-site data backup so that you never have to pay a ransom again, restoring your systems to the point before the infection. Furthermore, you should implement security solutions that can identify security issues before they become major problems (like ransomware infections). It also helps to teach your employees how to identify potential instances of ransomware, including the spam messages that it spreads in. Give your team someone to reach out to if they encounter an issue.
NTConnections can be that point of contact for your organization. To learn more about how you can protect your business from ransomware, reach out to us at (703) 288-9767.