Ransomware attacks are a common form of malware based cybercriminal scheme. Ransomware automatically encrypts the data stored on a company’s hardware. It then displays a ransom message – assuring the victim that their data can be decrypted if they pay a fee. Often this decryption never comes. Here are some of the devastating effects of ransomware attacks on businesses.
Paying The Ransom
Many business owners will have the same thought when their company is struck by a ransomware attack: ‘what if I just pay the ransom?’. Unfortunately, this is not typically a good idea. In many cases, data is never recovered, even when a ransom is paid. The ransoms demanded by cybercriminals for the return of data can vary hugely. Because the ransom is usually requested in cryptocurrency, a very reasonable ransom can fluctuate in worth massively over the course of a few days due to the instability of the crypto market. Even if files are actually decrypted after the ransom has been paid, the expenditure can be huge. Paying money to cybercriminals is usually a bad choice. Protecting your company using tools developed by groups like Panaseer can help you avoid this sticky situation in the first place.
When a company has been the victim of a ransomware attack, consumer trust in that company naturally declines. Consumers entrust a great deal of sensitive data to companies. If those companies cannot keep their data safe then consumers will naturally shy away from working with them. Data leaks and ransomware attacks can wreak havoc on a company’s reputation.
Even if the ransom is paid to a cybercriminal gang, most data encrypted by them is destroyed. Only a small percentage of victim organizations actually get their data back. Sensitive data being destroyed can incur massive costs, additional security risks and endanger client and consumers. Ransomware attackers don’t typically value the data that they encrypt – they just want the ransom money. Ransom money is the key motivation behind the attacks. The much publicized WANNACRY attackers were allegedly raising money in order to prop up the heavily sanctioned government of North Korea with cryptocurrency.
Much of the data held by companies is extremely sensitive. Ransomware attacks can lead to the large-scale theft of this sensitive data, which can then be used against a company, its clients or its customers.
If your company has been victimized by a ransomware group, it is a sure sign that your entire network has been compromised. Unfortunately, this means that just about every protocol has to be revamped. All authorization methods have to be updated. New training has to be given to staff members in order to prevent phishing attacks and repeated compromises. Perhaps the worst impact of ransomware attacks has to be the increase in uncertainty: IT staff scrambling to understand how a network has been compromised. Fully inventorying and monitoring all of the assets within a network can make this a less painful proposition.
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.