Ransomware as a concept dates back to the late 1980s, but recent years have seen more and more implementations of this malicious form of software. As hackers and other cybercriminals look to exploit lack of knowledge and security online. With 2016 seeing an extraordinary 748% increase in ransomware, it is clear that the phenomenon is expanding exponentially.
If 2016 was the year of ransomware, 2017 should perhaps be the year of overdue ransomware awareness, but incidents continue to pour in. Just within the last few weeks, organisations ranging from LG Electronics to the NHS have fallen victim to ransomware attacks. Statistics show that one in four UK cyberattacks are now of the ransomware variety.
Why is ransomware so devastating?
Surprisingly, as cyberattacks go, ransomware is a fairly crude and basic one. So why is it catching so many people, businesses and organisations out?
Ransomware is effective partly because it exploits human error and plays on fear. Attacks often stem from a pop-up or email warning a user that they must pay a fine or take some other form of action. Out of panic, they click a link or download an attachment, allowing harmful malware like Locky to take hold. This means that staff education and training is an important part of fending off ransomware.
But there are other more technical loopholes ransomware can exploit. Such as out-of-date software or inadequate antivirus packages. Of course, the impact of attacks might not be so drastic but for the fact that so many companies do not back up their files.
How can ransomware attacks be prevented?
Despite 2016’s staggering ransomware statistics, targeted attacks are expected to climb even further in 2017, so make sure you have the software you need to safeguard your business, and a disaster recovery plan in place for the worst case scenario. Most importantly, never give in to blackmail – paying the hackers is what turns ransomware from a crime into an industry. Let’s face it, there is a good chance they will simply pocket the money without returning your data.
For professional guidance on the prevention of, and recovery from, ransomware attacks, contact us today or call in at our Chester office.