For anyone with an awareness of the current trends in cyber crime, ransomware is nothing new. However, according to the FBI, the use of this type of malware is increasing in volume as more and more scammers see the benefits of invading people’s devices and machines in this way.
What is ransomware?
It’s painfully simple – essentially it’s a piece of malware that enables a scammer to hold a device or machine to ransom, controlling photos, music and other files, or simply locking a device, until the user pays the ransom to get their property back once again. The ransom amount can range from a couple of hundred pounds to five figure demands and all it takes is clicking on a bad link or website to make it happen.
Why is it so effective?
We all believe that we’re in control of our personal files and so the shock factor of suddenly being locked out is really frightening. It’s also something that many people simple don’t know how to handle and this leaves a large number of victims in a position of having to meet the scammer’s demands as they don’t know what else to do.
What does the FBI say?
The FBI has noted that the use of ransomware is on the rise – the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center said that it received 992 CrytoWall-related complaints between April 2014 and June 2015 and victims apparently reported loses of $18 million.
What is the threat for businesses?
Although many of the high profile ransomware scams have been aimed at individuals, scammers are increasingly targeting businesses as a result of the potentially higher yields from a deeper pocket. The FBI noted that attacks on law firms and SMEs – those businesses that are likely to have less sophisticated systems in place – are increasing. The main risk to business is of course the ransom itself, which could be a five-figure demand. However, there are also other associated costs, such as loss of productivity, network countermeasures and legal fees.
Network consultancy and managed network services can help defend against this kind of malware. Although you might not be able to prevent it completely, the investment now could save you five figures in the future.