Earlier this year, the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre issued an extremely rare joint cyber alert to warn individuals and businesses of a massive uptick in ransomware attacks. These attacks can be devastating, locking users out of their computer systems until ransoms are paid. The extortion has affected individual users and large companies alike, with payments ranging from a couple hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?
Ransomware is simply malicious computer software that denies access to a system unless a ransom is paid to unlock it. Although it’s been around the past decade in various forms, we have seen new viruses like Cryptowall, Cryptolocker, and TeslaCrypt hit US companies hard in 2015 and 2016 – especially in the healthcare industry.
Each virus in the ransomware family tends to have the same approach:
- Deny access.
- Give the user a fixed amount of time to make payment or all data will be lost.
- Ask for ransom in the form of an untraceable wire transfer or bitcoin.
- Allow access once the ransom is paid.
Usually, the time that it takes for a company to locate and destroy the virus costs more in lost operations time than just paying the ransom itself. One reason the hackers have been so successful is because they have kept ransoms low and somewhat manageable. Would you rather pay $10,000 today or lose access to all your data for a week or more?
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU’RE HIT?
Well, it may sound crazy, but even the Federal Bureau of Investigations says that sometimes it makes sense to just pay the ransom. The viruses have gotten so advanced that most institutions end up just paying the ransom to regain access to their systems. Fighting ransomware once it’s in place is extremely difficult and costly.
SO HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
Reveille Systems offers Network Security Solutions and Centralized Anti-Virus and Malware Management to protect your company. We also proactively conduct IT security audits to identify network vulnerabilities, remediating any issues before your network, or any data, is compromised. And to ensure data safety, we offer on-site and cloud backup, storage, and recovery.
Planning is the key to success with any network security system. A detection program needs to be put in place that includes everything from employee education to utilizing detection and security appliances. And just implementing a detection strategy isn’t enough. A separate prevention strategy needs to also be enforced, making sure that if the technology used to prevent the virus fails, you aren’t depending on that same technology to then detect it.
Ransomware is just one of the many threats that businesses have to deal with in today’s IT environment. We understand that every business is unique and has different needs for network security, data protection, data backup, and storage. Reveille Systems is here to consult, implement solutions, and provide ongoing support for all your IT systems.
Don’t pay a hacker $15,000 just to get your data back. Contact us today to maintain the integrity of your data – and your business.