January 31, 2018 - According to many recent surveys, ransomware is expected to be a (if not THE) leading cyber threat of 2018. Some report that 63% of businesses have experienced attempted ransomware attacks. Everything is vulnerable to these attacks; even our cars and home appliances can be at risk. The newest predictions say that ransomware will hit the cloud this year. Given all of this, it's time to learn all we can about this threat and how we might protect ourselves.
The majority of ransomware is propagated through user-initiated actions such as clicking on a malicious link in a spam e-mail or visiting a malicious or compromised website. In other instances, malware is disseminated through malvertising and drive-by downloads, which do not require user engagement for the infection to be successful. Victims are at risk of losing their files, but may also experience financial loss due to paying the ransom, lost productivity, IT costs, legal fees, network modifications, and/or the purchase of credit monitoring services for employees/customers.
What makes ransomware especially dangerous is that the attacks are widespread and anyone can become a target, even average users. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself against this nasty kind of malware that is fast becoming a favorite weapon in the arsenal of cybercriminals. Here's what you need to know.
Ransomware has been a growing trend for the past two years, and this is just a culmination, a grand reveal to the wider world of just how big of a threat it is. Ransomware creators and other cyber criminals involved in the malware economy are remorseless. They've automated their attacks to the point of targeting anyone and everyone.
Ransomware is a problem on the rise, a simple threat with some very large business implications. Statistics show it has reached new levels of menace, and it's growing at a remarkable rate: 6000% in 2016, an IBM study found, and a triple-digit increase into 2018. Although a very real and present danger (as shown by some very high profile infections in 2017), the real question is how this threat is going to grow next year and beyond.
Cloud computing businesses are likely targets of ransomware attacks because they typically store huge amounts of data for companies. While the biggest and oldest cloud service providers such as Google, Amazon, and IBM have the resources and experience to make it difficult for attackers to succeed, this MIT Review points out the smaller cloud providers are likely to be more vulnerable and more likely to pay up if customer data were encrypted and held for ransom.
When the Titanic set sail on its ill-fated voyage in 1912, it was woefully underprepared to save the 2,200-plus souls on board. Though the ship could carry enough lifeboats, the final count was far less to save money. That scenario should sound hauntingly familiar to any business that has cut back on its data security and business continuity procedures to reduce costs. Just as the Titanic wasn't prepared for an emergency situation, many businesses don't make the necessary preparations to survive a ransomware attack.
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