It’s no secret that the threat of ransomware attacks is ever-present and continuously increasing as we progress into 2020. It’s frequency of occurrence could be difficult to track as businesses or organizations don’t always report these cyberattacks to authorities, instead paying off ransoms to receive their files. This decision comes at a costly price, as payment never guarantees reaccess to encrypted files.
According to a New York Times article, data gathered from cybersecurity firm Emsisoft reports that approximately 205,280 organizations had disclosed that they were victim of a ransomware attack in 2019, this being a 41% jump prior to 2018’s findings. Cybersecurity firm Coveware also reported that towards the end of 2019, ransomware demands spiked to $190,946 as average payment to retrieve files from cybercriminals. Some ransom demands have even reached into the millions.
Types of ransomware attacks have dramatically shifted over the years, with criminals changing their interest from individual targets to large cities and organizations that rely heavily on keeping their networks up and running while also maintaining the privacy of their files.
City governments like that of New Orleans and Baltimore were recently targeted in 2019, the ransomware essentially crippling state officials’ ability to conduct business in a timely and orderly fashion. Many operations had to be conducted using pen and paper as computers were essentially offline and unusable while City IT experts contained the situation. While cities seemed to be a priority for cybercriminals, Coveware reports how attacks on public sector organizations in 2019 consisted of only 10 percent of all victims in actuality. However, the damage is still extensive enough due to prolonged periods of downtime.
After Travelex was hit with the REvil (Sodinokibi) ransomware on New Year’s Eve of 2019, the company still faces issues with assisting or providing banks like Barclays or the Royal Bank of Scotland with foreign currency exchanges. Aside from large companies, small-to-medium sized businesses also take the fall with ransomware, as did Denver printing company Colorado Timberline, which permanently closed after their inability to recover from a cyberattack.
The F.B.I. has warned the public that ransomware attacks are now “more targeted, sophisticated, and costly,” and the issue of ransomware is expected to only get worse. A new strain has recently been reported - Snake (or EKANS) - which is said to be used against oil and petroleum companies that rely on using software to run operations smoothly.
Ransom transactions are difficult to trace for the F.B.I. as payment is always demanded in Bitcoin, consequently making the task of finding the criminal a difficult feat to accomplish. Many also conduct their criminal activities in other foreign nations, thus outside the scope of prosecution under American law.
Cybercriminals are not shy to share their ransomware code with other hackers, as many also sell tool kits over the dark web, encouraging amateurs or experienced professionals to conduct their own cyberattacks. Many even band together to form cybercriminal gangs, using pressure tactics like publicly releasing private company files, which eventually encourages businesses to pay.
Though cybersecurity firms and the F.B.I. advise against paying ransom, many businesses fear the risk of losing essential data and pay the large sum regardless of warning. Doing so, however, never guarantees that all files - or any files - will be returned.
While cybersecurity insurance rates grow at an exponential rate, businesses and organizations can lessen ultimate expenses by investing in a file storage and data backup system as a precautionary measure.
Data storage, backup, and protection should be of utmost priority as part of any preparedness plan. Reevert™’s all-in-one data storage and hybrid backup solution is specifically designed to safeguard your data against any impending cyberattacks, putting firms, government agencies, business, and organizations back on track in just a matter of minutes.
Visit www.reevert.com for more information on how reevert’s numerous features and benefits can keep your data stay secured.
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