Ransomware is a particularly insidious form of cyber terrorism. It relies on extorting a victim for ransom while holding a seized information system – and its data – hostage. In 2016, the FBI warned of the increase of ransomware attacks on companies throughout the U.S. The number of attacks rose an estimated 167 percent from 2014 to 2015; there were a reported 683 million cyber attacks in 2015. (SonicWall’s Annual Threat Report, 2016).
Ransomware On the Rise
One reason ransomware attacks have risen so rapidly is due to the growing sophistication of malicious code and the proliferation of smart devices. A rise in the Internet-of-Things has made it even easier for attackers to gain access to personal devices like cell phones, smart TVs and more. With one access point, they can then cause a lot of damage, lock up your system and hold your data for ransom.
Minimal Work, Maximum Impact
The ability to affect hundreds or thousands of people at once also makes ransomware an attractive attack strategy. Seizing the data of a state’s DMV can mean possible damage to millions of Americans. This is an easy target for attackers who know that privacy concerns and government are touchy subjects right now; and chances are, the DMV will do whatever it can to quickly resolve the issue. Namely, pay the ransom.
Infrastructures that Need Updating
Additionally, many of the systems that currently house sensitive data were created decades ago. They have been modified as system requirements became more robust, but they are still vulnerable. They were not built to withstand some of the more sophisticated attack methods of today. Also, the larger a network of systems is, the more attractive it becomes for attackers.
Another system vulnerable to ransomware are utilities. It’s hard to forget the attack that left many in the Ukraine without heat in the middle of winter 2015 due to an attack on their power stations. Obviously, this type of attack could be devastating to other countries as well.
Preparing for and guarding against ransomware attacks will become a key cyber security issue throughout 2017 and in the future. It is clear that corporations, governments and individuals need to take bold steps to not become victims of ransomware.
Hire Ransomware Support Team
The best way to safeguard your important information is to hire a partner that will help you with this process. Please visit our managed security services to learn more or setup a time to chat or meet with our team.