Ransomware - As Reported by the FBI

Imagine running a successful corporation and with one simple click of a mouse, your data is locked. A message pops up telling you that your data has been encrypted and that you must pay $50,000 to regain access. The devastation sets in when you realize that you are now one of millions that have been hit by ransomware.

Hospitals, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies, school districts, businesses, other entities and individuals have all been victims of ransomware. It’s been around for awhile but it wasn’t until 2015 that it’s popularity soared. While attacks on individuals are common, cybercriminals targeting organizations proved to be far more profitable.

The way a ransomware attack works, you must either download a malicious file or be sent to a dangerous website that deploys malicious code. These files may be sent from a legitimate looking email and are presented as an e-fax or invoice, for example. Once executed, your files are encrypted and the attackers make you believe that your only recovery option is to pay the ransom in exchange for a decryption key.

Not only have the number of attacks substantially increased, but the methods of delivery have also become more sophisticated. Some don’t even use email at all. FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Trainor says, “These criminals have evolved over time and now bypass the need for an individual to click on a link. They do this by seeding legitimate websites with malicious code, taking advantage of unpatched software on end-user computers.”

The FBI does not recommend paying the ransom. If you pay the ransom, you reinforce the idea that ransomware is truly lucrative. Additionally, Trainer says, “Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee an organization that it will get its data back—we’ve seen cases where organizations never got a decryption key after having paid the ransom. Paying a ransom not only emboldens current cyber criminals to target more organizations, it also offers an incentive for other criminals to get involved in this type of illegal activity. And finally, by paying a ransom, an organization might inadvertently be funding other illicit activity associated with criminals.”

The FBI recommends focusing on prevention efforts, a business plan in the event of a ransomware attack, and backing up data. Verifying the integrity of those backups and securing them is important if you want to keep your data protected. With reevert, you can be comfortable knowing your data is secured and just a few clicks away.

While no one method will solely protect you from ransomware, each cautious step builds a wall of protection around your entity. If you’d like to read more about ransomware & the FBI, visit the FBI.gov link below.

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