Why All Businesses Need to Know About Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are increasing at an alarming rate. 2016 saw an increase four times greater than 2015. According to recent industry reports, about 50% of businesses have now experienced ransomware, and CNN reports that ransomware now constitutes a $1 billion industry. It’s understandable why so many businesses are concerned about it.

But being concerned isn’t enough – companies need to understand what it is, how it works and how damaging it can be to your organization.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a malicious program that locks afflicted users out of key files or devices until a ransom is paid. It can cripple your business with prolonged downtime, data loss, intellectual property loss, damaged reputation and, for some industries, hefty fines due to noncompliance.

This nasty malware has two components. First, there is the virus itself. The virus is installed without the user’s knowledge, often when clicking on a bad link. The virus then installs an application on the user’s device that can encrypt files throughout whatever environment that user has access to.

How do I get rid of ransomware?
With ransomware, you can’t just get rid of the virus. You must remove the application and either decrypt or restore the files that were impacted. And that’s easier said than done.

Just as IT security firms continue to research and expand their tactics for combatting ransomware, so do the makers and users of ransomware. The most current versions of ransomware use 3DES encryption which takes about 22 years to crack with the most sophisticated tools available.

Perhaps that’s why 70% of business executives who experienced ransomware willingly paid the ransom and about 60% report they would do the same if afflicted.

Who does ransomware target?

Everyone. Small businesses, large businesses, individuals – nobody is immune to ransomware. At Nortec, we’ve worked with organizations in the financial services, education, legal, healthcare and other industries who have been afflicted. It is a stressful, costly experience.

How much does ransomware cost?

In more and more cases, the only way to release the files is to pay the ransom which is currently averaging $679 with businesses and organizations reporting ransom demands upwards of $30,000.

Aside from the ransom price, there are several other ways ransomware costs companies money. For instance, 85% of ransomware victims get taken offline for a week or more, according to the latest industry reports. If you add up the amount of salaries you’re paying, and the amount of lost business, how much would that cost?

Ransomware is not something to take lightly – just ask anyone who has experienced it. They’d tell you if you wind up with ransomware, you’ll find yourself wishing you’d educated yourself and protected your company to save yourself from both the financial and emotional havoc that it leaves in its wake.

Don’t wait to find out how to protect yourself from ransomware. Contact Nortec at (866) 531-1990 or online today. 

Nortec Communications - Washington D.C