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Ransomware Attacks & Costs Are Skyrocketing, Here's What You Need to Know

Ransomware has been in the headlines lately due to two high-profile attacks. The first was on Colonial Pipeline, causing major gas shortages across the East Coast. The second happened on the heels of that attack and targeted the world’s largest meat producer. 

These two attacks were no surprise to cybersecurity experts who have been noting an alarming rise in ransomware over the last few years. 

This type of attack is particularly devastating because it will bring business technology to a standstill. In both the Colonial Pipeline and JBS attacks, the companies had to shut down at least one or more facilities for several days.

Downtime is not only costly, but it also can have impacts beyond the victim of a ransomware attack. In the case of the Colonial Pipeline incident, millions of people were impacted by the panic buying of gasoline that left stations across the East Coast with shortages. The nationwide price for a gallon of gas also shot up to over $3.00.

For a majority of companies, the average cost of downtime is between $301,000 to $400,000 per hour. 

Ransomware has become more than a nuisance, it has elevated to become one of the most disruptive and dangerous threats a company may face.

What Happens During a Ransomware Attack?

A form of malware, ransomware got its name because the attacker demands a ransom to return data access to the victim.

Until ransomware came on the scene, there was no direct interaction with an attacker. A virus or spyware would be released, and a company would need to have it removed and assess what data might have been stolen or compromised.

With ransomware, the attacker reaches out in the form of a message on the screen once a device has been infected. It demands a dollar amount, usually requested in Bitcoin, and when that’s paid the attacker promises to provide the key to decrypt the data.

Ransomware encrypts files, making them unusable. It also spreads rapidly throughout a network, which is why it usually brings operations to a screeching halt until they can be remediated. 

Disturbing Ransomware Facts & Figures

Ransomware has been increasing in size and cost rapidly because it’s been found to be a major money-maker for criminal organizations as well as solo hackers.

Approximately 56% of those companies infected by ransomware end up paying the ransom. This of course is exactly what attackers want and it encourages them to keep doing what they’re doing and optimize for higher efficiency. 

According to the Sophos 2021 Threat Report, ransomware is one of the major online threats facing organizations this year. Some of the reasons include:

  • Ransom demands have risen considerably
  • Attackers and large criminal organizations are collaborating 
  • Ransomware is being made more efficient, with attacks that previously took weeks, now taking just hours.

Here are some of the troubling statistics that illustrate why more attacks are on the horizon for both large and small organizations.

  • Between 2019 and 2020, ransomware attacks rose by 485%.
  • The cost of ransomware remediation doubled over the last 12 months from $761,106 to $1.85 million.
  • The average ransom demand nearly tripled between 2019 and 2020 from $115,123 to $312,493.

What Can You Do To Avoid Being Hit With Ransomware?

Assume That You Will Get Attacked

Many companies are unprepared when they’re hit with ransomware. This causes longer and more costly downtime. It also causes many companies to pay the ransom (like Colonial Pipeline did). 

No size business is safe from ransomware. Hackers go after all-sized companies. It’s important that you properly prepare and not assume “I’m too small for them to worry about.”

Use a Reliable Backup & Recovery Solution

It’s crucial to have a secure and recent backup copy of all your data so you’re covered should a ransomware attack or other data loss crisis occur. You need to also have a fast recovery component to that backup solution.

Some companies that have a backup will still pay the ransom if they think it will be faster than restoring their data. The backup with the fastest recovery time takes a full image of devices (OS, software, files, settings, etc.).

Follow Security Best Practices (antivirus, patch management, etc.)

Many forms of ransomware take advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities for which a security patch has already been issued. Companies without a patch/update management process are at a much higher risk of falling victim to ransomware.

The easiest way to ensure all cybersecurity best practices are covered is to sign up for a managed IT services plan. This includes multiple safeguards and ensures they’re administered and monitored by professionals.

Benefits you get with Unbound Digital’s managed IT support include:

  • Managed Antivirus & Anti-Malware
  • Patch Management
  • Managed Backup
  • Remote Support
  • Maintenance
  • Hourly Reporting
  • Guaranteed Response Time

Additional security solutions include:

  • Web Protection
  • Exchange Server Antispam
  • Firewall Maintenance & Testing

Ensure Your Business Is Protected from Ransomware With Managed IT Services 

Unbound Digital can keep your Johnson City, Tennessee business secure with a suite of services designed to ensure you’re following IT security best practices to avoid succumbing to an attack.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Call 423-335-2461 or reach us online.

 

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