Ransomware can be devastating for companies who give in to the hackers’ demands of thousands of dollars. In addition, a new ransomware has popped up in the past few weeks that seems to tailor itself to each company it attacks. When assessing the threat of ransomware, it is important to remember that there is more to lose than just the ransom, which is generally in the thousands of dollars — there are also related expenses like downtime and any IT assessments. By having protection of your systems and data to begin with, you can avoid paying the ransom hackers demand and still keep your data.
Personalized Ransomware: Ryuk
Something special about this new ransomware is the personalization put into each attack. There appears to be research put into each company to assess how much they are able to afford paying to have their data returned, and hackers then tailor their attacks to this information. Two types of messages have been used for this scheme, depending on the amount of money the hackers expect to receive from the company. One is longer and almost polite and explains that a hole has been detected in their system and upon payment with bitcoins they will inform the company how to fix this hole so the attack can’t happen again. A ransom is demanded under the threat of deleting all data that has been stolen. This is sent to companies that are expected to be a large payout. A second message is sent to companies that can’t pay as much and is much more blunt, demanding payment in bitcoins for a return of the stolen data. According to ZDNet, in both cases the demanded amount is usually between 15 and 35 bitcoins, the latter being $224,000. In either case, it is important to assess your company’s risk and have a backup plan.
Impacts of Ransomware
As Ryuk details at the end of their messages, “no system is safe.” Any system is at risk of ransomware attacks, or any other hacking attack.This can cost a company thousands of dollars in downtime and/or ransom for their data. For example, according to Insurance Business Magazine, a hospital that was a victim of ransomware ended up losing $65,000 for downtime and another $502,350 for other expenses related to the attack. The best way to prevent this sort of attack is to take preventative measures to ensure that your data is safe. By having a backup of your data on an off-site server, you can ensure that you will be able to access your data in the event of a ransomware attack without paying out to hackers. This minimizes downtime, when the company loses money, and gets you back to business.
To learn more about ransomware and data loss prevention, check out MDL Technology’s website.