Ransomware: A Real Life Monster

The McAfee Labs 2018 Threat Report stated that “the number of new ransomware strains saw an increase of 62% in the previous four quarters. This increase brings McAfee’s total number of identified strains to roughly 16 million.” Cybercriminals continually evolve their methods, so businesses must increase security measures to match. Proactive ransomware protection is made up of three elements: employee education, data backup, and cybersecurity. This blog will focus specifically on cybersecurity and the technologies that identify and block attacks.

What is Ransomware?

A quick refresher: Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data on infected systems. When the malware is run, it locks the victim’s files and allows criminals to demand payment to release them. Using spam, fake email messages, exploit kits, and more, cyberthieves install malicious software and extort money from companies.

“Sixty-five percent of businesses hit [with ransomware] reported losing access to critical data, and of those who paid the ransom, only one in six recovered the data” (Kaspersky Labs). According to this survey, even if you give in to the criminal’s demands, you’re probably not going to get the data back. Cybersecurity tools are designed to shield your networks, computers, and mobile devices from potential threats that pop up during day-to-day work activities. Examples of cybersecurity technology:

  • > Antivirus Software – Antivirus is designed to identify, block, and remove malware and viruses that try to attack business systems. This software detects unauthorized users and alerts your admins to suspicious activity.
  • > Firewalls – Firewalls monitor incoming/outgoing network traffic and filter information based on a set of rules. Approved applications go through without issue, but unauthorized data is flagged and prevented from reaching your internal network.
  • > Patch Management – Cybercriminals often use security holes in popular software products as a way into the network. Patch Management locates these vulnerabilities and updates the operating system/app to combat ransomware strains as they are released. Automated patching can help fix bugs before humans are even aware of a problem.
  • > Managed Networks – Outsourcing your cybersecurity to a Managed IT provider, like Iserv, includes 24/7/365 network monitoring and remote troubleshooting. We also offer security assessments of your systems, giving you crucial information about the weak spots in your defenses. Increase your productivity by letting an IT expert handle the monotonous security functions.

Never underestimate the craftiness or determination of today’s hackers. As attacks become more prevalent, businesses should invest in cybersecurity technology to protect their data. An accurate summary: “It used to be that the bad guys wanted data because it was valuable to them. With ransomware, they’re essentially asking: ‘your data isn’t valuable to me, but how much is worth to you?” (MSPmentor podcast).