Discover why ransomware poses such a big threat to businesses and how to defend against it.
Ransomware is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats to businesses worldwide. One study found that approximately 70% of companies experienced a ransomware attack in 2022. While ransomware can be damaging, businesses can work to prevent them with a well-defined defense plan starting with a cybersecurity risk assessment. Tekie Geek is a managed IT service provider serving businesses in New York and New Jersey, offering secure cloud computing services. Here's how we can help you craft a strategy to minimize the threat of ransomware and other types of malware.
Ransomware is not a new concern — incidents of this cyber threat have been cited as far back as the 1980s. However, many researchers have noticed a significant spike in ransomware in recent years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) CyWatch team notes that ransomware reports increased by 82% between 2019 and 2021 alone.
It is a form of malware in which a cyber criminal hacks into a device or network to encrypt files. In doing so, the cyber criminal makes the files inaccessible until the business pays ransom to decrypt them. Ransomware attacks typically come with instructions stating how much the threat actor is demanding and how the victim should pay the ransom.
Multiple factors have contributed to the rise in ransomware. For one, developments in technology have made it easier and sometimes more affordable for cyber criminals. Tools like Ransomware-as-as-Service are ubiquitous on the dark web and provide criminals with the resources they need to initiate the attack. The individuals who create Ransomware-as-a-Service products often receive a portion of the extorted money, turning the practice into an enterprise.
Another major contributor to this increase is the shift to remote work brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, many organizations updated their IT infrastructures, eliminating existing on-premise applications in favor of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps and similar solutions. However, many of these same businesses neglected to update their guidelines for use.
Cybersecurity looks different in remote or hybrid work situations. For instance, if employees use personal computers to conduct work tasks, technologies designed to protect data against social engineering scams may not cover these devices. Many ransomware attacks begin with a social engineering attack, such as a fraudulent email that tricks an employee into revealing sensitive information or clicking on a dangerous internet link.
The most immediate consequence of ransomware is the threat of financial loss. Even though the FBI encourages organizations not to make payments, they often do to gain access to files and continue operations. Other adverse effects of these hacking attacks include:
Exposure of sensitive data: Cyber criminals may threaten to leak confidential information to persuade businesses to pay the ransom.
Increased downtime: Ransomware attacks reduce a company’s level of productivity, sometimes for weeks at a time.
Heightened potential for future incidents: Once a malicious actor hacks into your network or devices for the first time, they can locate other vulnerabilities to launch future attacks.
Reputational loss: If consumers find out your business fell victim to ransomware, it may damage your company’s reputation and possibly lead to fewer profits.
The best way to avoid ransomware and strengthen data loss prevention is to plan for incidents before they happen. If you need a more effective approach to protecting your business against ransomware and other types of malware, turn to Tekie Geek for secure solutions. We offer several core services designed to promote successful data security, such as business continuity plans and managed IT assistance. Through these services, your business can create a sound disaster recovery plan and benefit from regular, expert data backups.
The team of IT superheroes at Tekie Geek understands that not all businesses have the same cybersecurity concerns. We customize our solutions to meet the specific needs of the clients we serve in New York and New Jersey, helping them to focus on their number one objective — keeping the business up and running. Contact us today to learn more about our services.