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What Is Ransomware

19 January 2020

What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a malicious piece of software that is covertly installed on a PC without a user’s knowledge, then subsequently holds the user’s files or data to  ransom by locking or encrypting the data and then demanding a hefty fee in exchange for the encryption key to unlock the files.  Besides encrypting the user’s data, the software can infect the whole network as it makes its way around the different workstations within an organisation.
It will infect a computer or a device in numerous ways and these will include:
•    Staff that have not received training – Staff training is important and always put a password policy in place. Wherever possible use 2 factor or multi-factor authentication.  Always try and help the staff that are a wee bit “techno phobic”, get them trained up and show them what’s what. 
•    Usually free software that has been downloaded from an untrustworthy source – always download any programs or apps from trusted sources or a legitimate app store.  Keep all software up to date with all the latest patches and have an Anti-Malware program installed
•    Websites that have been compromised – these can be hit with outdated plugins, so always use plugins from trusted sources and keep this up to date.  Your web developer will have knowledge about this.
•    Phishing emails – emails from external sources with links in the body of the email, encouraging the user to click on the link.  Here again staff training is important.
There are new strains of Ransomware out all the time and are hitting more businesses, large and small.  The prevalence of Ransomware is becoming more, and the problem is growing exponentially, so the question is why?  Well the answer to that is “easy profits” 
Ransomware is highly lucrative
•    This is probably the most profitable malware in history.
•    It is very lucrative as the money to unlock the files are paid directly to the faceless attackers
•    Ransomware is predicted to be worth $17 billion in the market by 2021
•    An attacker can get code relatively easy off the dark web and not have high coding skills, as the coding will be purchased from a developer who will get a percentage of the profits.  Both attacker and developer will hide in the shadows of the dark web and probably never be seen or get caught.

The effects of a Ransomware attack can be catastrophic for any business which could mean:
•    Loss of data, if there is no backup or disaster recovery plan in place
•    This could also mean loss of revenue and income to the business
•    The downtime of the business and the operational costs associated with that to get up and running again
•    The business or the organisations reputation can have devastating after effects
•    It will be a highly emotional time for any business owner, who will be thinking why me?  Do I pay or else my business goes down? These are questions that will put panic into any business owner.  The suffering of the business’s clients will also be in jeopardy.

If you would like to get your business Cyber Secure and not sure how to go about it, please contact Control IT Solutions on 01738 31027 for more help and advice.


TAGGED IN: Security, Small Businesses , Threats To Small Businesses, Perth, Dundee, Fife, Scotland, Stirling, Backup Data, Disaster Recovery, Ransomware, Remote Monitoring and Management, Managed Service Provider, Cyber Security