Man with hands locked together with a laptop with ransomware

New, October 10, 2018:

New statistics are out revealing just how many companies are being victimized by ransomware. Ransomware is a growing threat.  As Halloween approaches, here are some hair-raising up-to-date statistics from SolarWinds.

  • 63% of attacks took more than a full business day to fix.1
  • There was 90% increase in attacks in 2017.2
  • 11.5 Billion U. S. dollars is the estimated global cost to businesses in 2019.3
  • On average, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016. This is a 300-percent increase over the approximately 1,000 attacks per day seen in 2015.

 

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts or locks the files on your computer.  It then offers to give you the ability to decrypt, or unlock, them if you pay the ransom hackers demand.

Sometimes the attackers only give you a certain number of hours to pay before you can no longer recover your data, just to add extra urgency to the situation. This type of malware is often transmitted via commonly-used Office documents like Word or Excel, but can infect your data by simply clicking on the wrong link.  Payment is most often required in Bitcoin, as it is considered untraceable.

The good news is that most types of ransomware are not self-propagating on a network.  This means that if you click on the wrong link or download the wrong file you will only infect your computer, and it won’t spread to every other computer on the network.  The bad news is that it will encrypt any file it can access.

This means it will encrypt any files you have stored on any attached devices such as external hard drives or USB thumb drives, as well as any network shares or anything else it can find.

One click can let an infection into your entire network.

When you get the ransom note, the current official government recommendation is not to pay the fine.  However, if you don’t have back up and you must have your data, then you have no choice but to pay the ransom and hope for the best. Most of the times when you pay the ransom, you get your data back. Payment is demanded in cryptocurrency, e.g., Bitcoin, so you can’t get your money back, and it is untraceable. Bitcoin is often used as currency for illegal activities.

There are times when it is not financially feasible for you to pay the ransom demanded to get your files back. Be prepared to expend a lot of effort to reconstruct your files. Some variants of Ransomware are so poorly crafted that once your data is encrypted you will not be able to recover it, regardless of whether or not you pay the ransom.

 

In our prior blog post we have more information about Ransomware and discuss ways to handle the situation if your data has been “kidnapped”.

For most businesses it’s simply a matter of protection. Here at Sawyer Solutions, we can work with you on how to best protect your company.

 

If you feel that you need any assistance in handling avoiding a ransomware event or assistance handling any other of the following list of topics, please contact us here at Sawyer Solutions.

  • Managed IT Services
  • IT Consulting
  • IT Security and Compliance
  • Cloud Computing
  • Disaster Recovery and Backups

 

It is best to contact us BEFORE your computer gets infected than afterwards.

 

 

  1. International Study Finds Nearly 40 Percent of Enterprises Hit by Ransomware in the Last Year,” Business Wire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160803005545/en/International-
    Study-Finds-40-Percent-Enterprises-Hit (accessed October 2018).
  2. “Cybercrime Tactics and Techniques: 2017 State of Malware,” Malwarebytes Labs. https://www.malwarebytes.com/pdf/white-papers/CTNT-Q4-17.pdf (accessed October 2018).
  3.  “Global Ransomware Damage Costs Predicted to Hit $11.5 Billion by 2019,” Cyber Security Ventures. https://cybersecurityventures.com/ransomware-damage-report-2017-part-2/(accessed October 2018).
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