What is Ransomware and Why You Should Care
If your organization was targeted by ransomware, would it be able to survive the hit? More and more businesses, school districts, and governments are being targeted by hackers in an effort to hold their most sensitive data and business operations for ransom. Yet very few organizations are prepared in the event they are breached. Read on to discover exactly what ransomware is, what happens when an attack is successful, and how Affiliated Communications can help you on your cybersecurity journey.
What IS Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of cybersecurity breach that can lock entire businesses and organizations out of their system. It can be delivered by a phishing email where a user clicks a fake link that requires them to enter password information or automatically downloads the ransomware when opened. It can also be downloaded from an email attachment.
When successful, the hackers can then control the company’s devices and data. They can lock users out of their devices, meaning the business or organization can’t operate. In addition, they likely have access to the company’s most sensitive data, including customer information, which they will encrypt so users are no longer able to access the information.
To get the devices back and the data decrypted, the cyber hackers demand a ransom, hence the name.
You’re a Small Operation — Why Should You Care?
Many small businesses and local government organizations believe that they’re “small fish” and will never be targeted by these groups. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There was a 92.7% increase in ransomware attacks from 2020 to 2021 to businesses of all sizes. In 2018 alone, 71% of small businesses were subjected to a ransomware attack. In fact, hackers often prefer smaller organizations — with fewer security measures in place, they’re much easier targets.
Could Your Organization Afford the Cost to Get Back Online?
Once a ransomware attack is successful, the organization in question is going to have to pay to get their operations back online. They will either have to pay the ransom or pay a cybersecurity firm to get their system back online, neither of which are cheap. According to recent reports, the average ransom demand in 2020 rose 144% to 2.2 million across business of all sizes. The average ransom payment rose 78% to $541,010. And it’s not just the payments that are going to cost you — unable to operate, you can’t properly serve your customers or community.
Could your smaller operation afford such a charge or even the hundreds of thousands of dollars ransomware groups demand from their victims? Many can’t. Several will close within one week to six months of the attack. Even larger organizations aren’t safe from the exorbitant costs. Lincoln College, a school that has existed for 157 years, was recently forced to close due to a ransomware attack. The city of Atlanta paid $2.6 million to recover from a ransomware attack in 2018.
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Are You Eligible for Cyber Insurance?
In light of this threat, businesses and organizations are also looking into cyber insurance. In the event of a successful ransomware attack, this policy could help you stay afloat. However, insurance companies are creating checklists for their policy holders now that require them to have certain procedures in place to be eligible for cyber insurance. This often includes IT monitoring, security measures, training for cybersecurity, and more.
If your organization isn’t following this checklist, you could become ineligible or lose your insurance entirely for a payout if you’re targeted.
Work With Affiliated Communications For Your Cybersecurity
In light of the problems our clients are facing when it comes to ransomware, we decided to begin offering cybersecurity and network security solutions. These tools ensure that you have protocols in place to stop an attack in its place before it takes root in your system. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — taking action now can help save you from hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom or fixes. We offer:
- Managed security services
- Protection from advanced threats
- Encryption and data protection
- Cloud migration assistance and solutions
- Comprehensive security plans
- Assistance with cyber insurance checklists