Most people have heard of Ransomware but they may not know exactly why it is a problem. I am here, as a Managed Service Provider, to give you the 411 on Ransomware.
What is ransomeware?
Ransomware is getting a hold of an individual or company’s document(s) or system(s), via software with specific coding, and holding them hostage until a ransom is paid.
How does it happen?
Cybercriminals target an individual or business, usually based on income or profits, that they feel they can easily bring to its knees with ransomware. Cybercriminals use catchphrases that grab an individual or corporation’s attention. Some cybercriminals include messaging about the risk of a computer virus if the entity doesn’t purchase a specific antivirus program.
What are the effects?
Effects include, but are not limited to, getting locked out of your computer system or encrypting files. Getting locked out of one’s computer system can cost time, money, and sometimes even lives…same goes for encrypting files. A business can literally be brought to a standstill with ransomware.
Locked out of computer system unexpectedly
Usually, there are signs, even if subtle, that a computer’s hardware is malfunctioning and going out—so if a computer unexpectedly shuts down and you can’t get it back up that is a tell-tale sign of Ransomware. Cybercriminals love to lock entities out of their computer systems. Nothing brings a corporation to its knees more than a down system.
Have you ever needed to access something from a computer document? Businesses need to access documents to run daily, sometimes even hourly, so having a cybercriminal lock a document with an unknown password or otherwise encrypt files can have legal or financial implications.
Well, the obvious reason is for money, but also cybercriminals take joy in causing chaos and ruin. The primary goal is to extort money in the most disruptive way possible, in exchange for something like a decryption key. Businesses have had to close doors, even if temporarily, due to Ransomware.
What to do if affected
If you are a victim of Ransomware, the first thing you need to do is call the FBI. The second thing you need to do is call a managed service provider, like us. Do not pay the ransom.
Just like in the movie Ransom, just because you pay the amount demanded doesn’t mean that the criminal will uphold his/her end and that you will get the right decryption key.
Some cybercrime organizations actually see your willingness to pay as an incentive to continue, or if they send the correct decryption key as an incentive to attack you again in the future.
To date, Conti, DoppelPaymer, Egregor, GandCrab, KeRanger for Macs, and RobbinHood have netted criminals millions, if not billions, of dollars and brought organizations, like the government for the city of Baltimore, MD, to a standstill.
In fact, a hospital that was targeted even had a patient, who they had to transfer, die specifically because of Ransomware. Anyone, on any system, is at risk of Ransomware, but cybercriminals love to target organizations or individuals with financial capital…often this means large companies or multi-millionaires and billionaires.
So what can you do to prevent being targeted? Again we recommend calling a tech company, such as ourselves, to secure your private information and create secure backup copies of your system. Think of it like a criminal would…while a locked door doesn’t mean there is zero risks of being robbed, a criminal is going to choose an unlocked door over a locked door every time. We help companies “lock the door” and lessen the risk.