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Ransomware: a malicious software that attacks an individual computer or an enterprise computer system. The malware gains control of a computer or enterprise system and encrypts your system and software. In order to unlock the hostage data, the cybercriminals demand a monetary payment. Usually, but not always, the bad guys release your system or software when the ransom is paid.
Why Should Businesses Worry About Ransomware?
Ransomware criminals began by attacking personal computers and ransoming the data and systems back to their owners for only a few hundred dollars. Crooks were so successful that it didn’t take them long for them to realize that companies could pay more than individuals, and they began attacking business systems.
Businesses attacked by a successful ransomware occurrence need to:
Instances of ransomware are rampant in the United States; especially hard hit are the healthcare and public sector areas, as well as normal businesses providing goods and services.
Ransomware and Healthcare
One of the most recent victims of ransomware attacks was King’s Daughter Hospital in Madison, IN. The hospital is small, with 89 beds on a Wednesday. By Friday, the hospital had restored most computer systems and was using manual systems if a certain system was still down.
The shutdown was voluntary following the discovery of one infected laptop. Hospital officials said:
“Thanks to education and awareness about ongoing email and cyberthreats, KDH employees acted swiftly once the virus was discovered in an email that appeared legitimate.”
But, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was not so lucky. It paid $17,000 in bitcoin to the crooks that held their systems hostage. But the original asking price from the hostage takers was $3.7 million.
Ransomware and the Public Sector
The United States Department of Homeland Security reported in March 2016 that 29 federal agencies were attacked by ransomware, but no ransom was paid. The number of unique attacks on government agencies was 321 for the last half of 2015.
Ransomware and Businesses
Ed Cabrera, vice president of cybersecurity strategy at Trend Micro, commented on ransomware in early 2016:
“SMBs are incredibly vulnerable to these types of attacks; I’d say the threat level is critical. Small businesses lack the resources, the security and the multi-layer defense programs to help protect themselves. And it’s only escalating.”
Ransom is a global phenomenon, but the United States is considered the fat golden goose across the world.
To Protect Yourself and Your Company, Would You Pay Ransom?
Not if you didn’t have to. Following are some ways to mitigate ransomware risk and get your system back up fast.
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