What Is Ransomware?
It is a form of malicious software attack that blocks you from your device or system until you part with a demanded ransom amount. This illegal online money-making scheme is delivered to your device and software primarily through deceptive links, phishing emails, links or attachments, other malware infections, and network intrusion. Ransomware has two main forms:
- Crypto ransomware: Hackers encrypt your files, rendering them unusable from your end, and then demand money or ransom if you want to recover your files.
- Locker ransomware: This form locks you out of your device until you pay a ransom to be allowed in again.
Why You Must Watch Out For Ransomware
A ransomware attack comes at a painful cost, and it’s not just monetary. You lose much more, including customers, data, reputation, or in the worst case, your business. Here are five reasons to be more concerned about ransomware attacks.
1. Monetary Loss
The same way insurance companies increase premiums for accident-prone drivers, they can increase your general liability premiums after a ransomware attack. You might be forced to pay higher insurance premiums apart from losing business revenue and spending money beefing security and Information Technology (IT) structures. It is because they view your business as high risk. Similarly, you may need to pay high costs in settlements and legal fees.
2. Lost Reputation And Business
The increasing ransomware attack incidents have resulted in its incidents getting more coverage on social pages and mainstream media. This level of attention is good for creating awareness about the massive security issue. The more people are aware of the ransomware attack, the better they become at protecting themselves.It may also help discourage cybercriminals and slow them down as they’re not in it for publicity. However, it has a downside as well. It will also place the victims in the limelight, which can lead to scrutiny of what you’d have done to prevent the attack, sometimes establishing fault on your part. And it comes with a tainted reputation and losing trust with your customers. And this results in a loss of customers, which affects your business’s growth and, therefore, revenue.
3. Loss Of Data
Data is one of the most significant assets you have, and once you lose it, you can’t get it back. Hackers don’t care about your loss, and delays or failure in paying the ransom may cause them to delete or leak your data. Losing all your business and customer data can be quite devastating and is quite a high price to pay, and you may never recover from such a loss. One of the best ways to prevent data loss is the good old practice of regular backups in a reliable and safe place, online or offline.
4. Significant Downtime
Any form of downtime in your business can be pretty disruptive. A ransomware attack locking you out of your devices or access to data can halt your operations for hours on end. You can suffer an immense loss of business, which is another significant reason you need to be wary of ransomware attacks.
5. The Risk of Repeat Attacks
The unfortunate truth about dealing with cyber attackers is that paying the ransom doesn’t mean you stop being a target for repeat attacks. You can’t trust a cybercriminal’s word that they won’t attack again when you pay the demanded ransom. Survey shows that up to 80% of ransomware attack victims suffer another attack, mainly from the same attacker.
Protecting Yourself From Ransomware AttacksUnderstandably, you may feel like there’s no way you can protect yourself against these attacks. But there are various ways to keep safe from it.
- Educate users: Security awareness training is crucial for all users to enable them to serve as your first line of defense in stopping malicious software from entering your systems. Good security policies and best practices can go a long way in preventing these attacks.
- Access control: Ensuring that users only access devices, applications, and network devices by privilege and only up to the level they need to perform a task.
- Have a robust data backup and recovery strategy: Having all your data available elsewhere when a ransomware attack happens will help you recover faster and allow business continuity.
- Update your software: Keep your operating system and other software updated with the latest security patches and install genuine antivirus and anti-malware solutions.
- Use spam filters: Most ransomware attacks come through emails and other messaging services. You can lower the risk of an attack through phishing scams using strong spam filters.
Ransomware attacks are on the rise and can affect you from many angles. These attacks can also devastate your business by losing your data, reputation, money, and revenue. However, with the proper measures, you can significantly reduce the risks of an attack. Hopefully, you now understand ransomware better and why you must watch out for it.