Signs of a Ransomware Attack and What You Should Do Next
In 2015, there were approximately 360,000 ransomware attacks reported. Fast-forward to 2020 and that number has risen exponentially with just under 200 million ransomware attacks reported.
Why is this? Well, with technology constantly advancing, companies are relying more heavily on online systems for tasks. In combination with growing technology, the COVID-19 pandemic forced global shut-downs and online remote work became the new normal. This created much more opportunity for cybercriminals to find vulnerabilities in everyone’s systems as we all adjusted to working from home.
Ransomware, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, is a type of cyberattack that invades a company, organization, or individual’s system, steals or encrypts data, and then demands a payment for the return of the locked information. Sometimes the stolen or encrypted files are related to confidential or sensitive company data and in other instances, it could be personal or incriminating information about employees or higher-ups in a company.
We’re seeing ransomware hitting any and all types of businesses, organizations, and individuals. Small to large corporations, government agencies, healthcare, mining companies, and financial institutions have been some of the biggest targets. However, in recent years, we’re seeing many ransomware attacks also hitting small businesses, individuals, schools, and other unpredictable places.
Why Are Ransomware Attacks Getting Worse?
The main factor driving up the number of ransomware attacks is the fact that many enterprises and individuals end up paying the ransom to get their data back. Panic and urgency sets in, and without a proper cyber-plan in place, the first instinct is to quickly pay the ransom to get the sensitive data back.
The jump in ransoms paid from 2019 to 2020 was about 171% with the highest reported ransom paid being $10 million in 2020.
The issue here is that paying the ransom does not guarantee your data will be returned, and in many situations, the cybercriminal may hold onto the data for a second attack later on. Overall, paying the ransoms encourage future ransomware attacks as it shows its effectiveness to cybercriminals worldwide.
5 Signs of A Potential Ransomware Attack
1. Mixed up names and contents of files and documents
2. Denied access to devices or systems
3. Locked web browsers
4. Encrypted or locked files and loss of access
5. Receiving a message demanding payment in return for stolen data
Ransomware is one of the top methods of attack at the moment, and we strongly believe it’s going to continue to grow in the future. Here’s what you should do if you think you may have been hit by a ransomware attack.
First and foremost, do NOT pay the ransom. Get help from a trusted cybersecurity service as soon as possible and do not communicate with the cybercriminal. We provide next-level cybersecurity services for our clients, if an incident does occur, feel free to reach out to us for immediate help.
You may not think you or your organization will ever be a target of cybercrime in general, but these days, it’s almost inevitable. That’s why prevention is key to reducing massive damage. After a cyberattack does occur, it can be extremely costly to resolve and it could also have major impacts on your company’s reputation and consumer trust.
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