Ransomware was the 800-pound gorilla in the room a few years ago when it took the world by storm led by viruses like Wannacry. In 2017, it infected the devices of more than 300,000 people spread across 150 countries. North Korea remains the most likely source of its origin. The virus was like nothing most people had seen before, and in their confusion, it did the most damage.
For most, the really frustrating part of the virus was the inability to know what the right decision should be once infected. Should they pay the ransom and hope that those sending the message made good on their word? How did one even buy a cryptocurrency and transfer it to another user? If you ignored the message, would they make good on their word? Was there anywhere around it at all?
Ransomware did not do the business it had hoped in 2017 because of those lingering doubts in which a lot of people just started over with a new machine rather than jump through hoops that might or might not prove successful.
This past summer, ransomware appears to be going after smaller-market victims, those who would rather try and pay a small ransom than invest in a new computer system. According to reports, small towns and US cities across the US are being hit by ransomware and their systems compromised until they pay rewards in the hundreds or thousands to regain control.
The best way to fight against ransomware is to have the best anti-spyware software you can find installed on your system. Step two is to back up all of your data constantly to an offsite or cloud server so that if and when your own system gets hit by ransomware, you have a foolproof backup plan in place to take over.
The scary thing about ransomware is that it’s not just your data at risk if you are a business. Your customers are in jeopardy if the ransom senders choose to publish data instead of just deleting it all. If your customers’ names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, and credit card accounts were to suddenly appear on a random website dump or for sale on the dark web, it’s hard to believe your business would ever regain its reputation again, or retain the customers who had their dirty laundry aired.
Stopping ransomware before it infiltrates your system is the only surefire way to keep your system as safe as possible. Anti-spyware software is adept at realizing when a phishing attack or other invasion attempt is possible. It can root out fake emails and fake browser links. While business owners and C-suite level executives are likely to always be on the lookout for this sort of thing, the average employee is not so hyper-aware.
Make it your company’s policy to have frequent training sessions to alert employees of the possibilities of ransomware attacks, what they might look like, and what to do if you do get the very depressing message that your system is being held, hostage.