The Alarming Rise of Ransomware, and how it could stop you dead in your tracks
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a specific type of malware infects your computer and locks you out of files and your computer entirely. This type of malware holds your system or files ransom asking for some form of payment. They typically spread through phishing emails or when you visit websites that are unknowingly infected. So to be equipped with the knowledge of how to spot a phishing email is a huge plus. Once this type of malware infects your systems they can be devastating. Ransomware has been on the rise worldwide and now has recently also begun to be on the rise in Canada. It is projected that in 2020 cyber attacks will cost companies and organizations over 6 trillion dollars worldwide and that 60% of small to medium businesses will never recover from them, as a result will have to close their doors.
What have we been seeing?
Now that we know what ransomware is let’s take a looks at how it’s been affecting the world at large. Recently the CBC has published a story on Ransomware in which a local Toronto dental Clinic was hit with ransomware. The hacker was looking for 9 Bitcoins, which wasn’t paid because the clinic had in place security measures, and kept up to date backups. The result was the clinic was able to avoid losses.
Then there is the case of 110 nursing homes in the United States, that were cut off from their resident’s health records from a ransomware attack to their data storage provider. In this case, it appears as the company in charge of the cloud-based data storage is still in the process of recovering from the attack. In these two cases, the type of virus used is one called the Ryuk, this one has been on the rise recently and is particularly nasty as it usually damages the files it encrypts.
Finally, we have the case of the NYPD that shutdown their fingerprint database from a ransomware infection. This infection caused their database to be down of a whole weekend as they addressed the issue. In this case, the cause was an infected computer being used by a contractor installing a new system.
What can be done?
The RCMP’s department of cybersecurity in Canada recommends keeping software up to date with the latest patches, never opening attachments from unsolicited emails, backing up databases, securing wireless router, disabling file sharing to remote desktops, and using safe browsing practices.
A set of good practices to achieve the above is to have up to date firewalls, restrict access to sensitive areas of your network, restrict employee user’s access to related areas. In addition to this having an anti-virus with browser protection will assist with preventing staff from entering those infected websites, and educating staff on what to look for in determining whether a website can be trusted.
Having your data backed up is very crucial to recovering from these types of attacks and is just good practice even if you are not worried about ransomware. For small and medium businesses, it is always best to educate employees on security practices and seeking outside assistance to help cover areas that you can`t cover inhouse. Implementing these practices does not guarantee that you won’t fall victim to these attacks, but they go along way to helping you protect yourself and your organization.
Contact Powerland to learn more about what we can do to help or contact us online using to contact form below or by email email@example.com who will redirect you to the correct Knowledgeable representative.