Ransomware. We’re all familiar with the term, whether it be from news reports, online scaremongering or, heaven forbid, a brush with the beast itself. This form of cyber crime is still incredibly popular all over the world, despite the fact that its reputation (or notoriety) precedes it by some distance.
A ransomware attack consists of a hacker gaining access to the hard drive of a computer and encrypting all of its files, then demanding a ransom for the decryption key. If we’re all aware of the threat, why is ransomware still so popular a criminal technique? Why is still so successful? Here are a few reasons why this most basic of tricks is still an omnipresent danger in the world of cyber security.
- The truth is that Ransomware attacks are now everywhere, targeting everyone, all of the time. From unsolicited pop-ups to suspicious looking emails, a Ransomware attack can afflict anyone, meaning that those responsible have a higher chance of success, just from the sheer numbers alone.
- People are paying. Much like negotiating with terrorists, meeting the demands of a Ransomware attack will only encourage its perpetrators to undertake more in the future – and moreover, there’s still no guarantee you’ll get your files back, even if you do pay. Despite this, Ransomware victims have still paid almost £20 million in ransom demands over the last two years.
- Human error. Most Ransomware attacks are triggered by unsuspecting users clicking on an innocuous-looking link, which downloads the encryption programme onto their computer without their knowledge. Even the toughest of security chains is only as strong as its weakest link, and when that weak link is human error, it’s really not that strong at all.
- Ease of implementation. While some of the more sophisticated Ransomware systems will infiltrate a security network through a hidden loophole or forgotten back door, by far and away the majority of them simply result from one erroneous click of the mouse. With many Ransomware packages having self-propagating capacities built into them, the criminal only needs to release it into the world once and watch the payments roll in.
- Vulnerability of victims. Whether it be from not educating employees, neglecting to update security systems or failing to back up information, companies leave themselves open to a cyber attack if they don’t prepare for one.
With that last point in mind, the threat of Ransomware attacks can be significantly diminished if the prudent business owner takes a few simple steps to safeguard their assets. Don’t delay – protect your enterprise against Ransomware today.