Ransomware Attacks on the Rise

Imagine you have shown up to work just like every other day. You sit down at your workstation with your coffee and quickly realize that someone has locked and encrypted all the data you have on your computer. Seems like a scenario that you would only find in larger companies that have lots of sensitive data, right? Wrong. Ransomware attacks are on the rise and even small and medium-sized businesses should be on the alert. 

Ransomware is like the bully on the playground holding your lunch hostage until you pay up. In the hands of the bully, your lunch bag is right there but just out of reach, similar to the data that is still on your computer but encrypted so you can’t access it. 

Ransomware By the Numbers 

Let’s look back just a few years to see how this email attack phenomenon has evolved. According to FBI statistics, in 2013 there were 991 tracked incidents of ransomware attacks against business, resulting in losses slightly exceeding half a million dollars.

Jump ahead three years to 2016 and that number increased to 2,673 instances for the year, with total losses just shy of two and a half million dollars. By 2018, the number of attacks seemed to have plateaued, although the costs of such attacks continued to increase. 

That brings us to 2019. According to the statistics from the FBI, so far this year, there has been an enormous increase in the total number of ransomware attacks. Businesses have shouldered the largest amount of the increase, reporting an upswing in excess of 500%!  While there are no hard figures yet for the total damages, one can expect that the 2019 figures will be as record-shattering as the total number of attacks themselves.

What You Can Do to Prevent Ransomware

Start by realizing that ransomware is extremely profitable for cybercriminals and stopping it completely is near impossible. Your best bet is to put up solid defenses and prevent the event from happening in the first place. Here are a few ideas on how to do that. 

Keep your security software up-to-date. Having the most current internet security software can help you stay ahead of the game and protect against cyber attacks. While you are at it, update your operating system, too. 

To prevent having to pay to get your own files and data back, we suggest having a strong back up plan. That means be sure to have a backup copy of your data externally or in the cloud. That way if someone maliciously gains access to your info you can ignore the threat and restore from your backup. 

Prevention also means being cautious when opening emails, especially email attachments. Since email is the main mode of delivering ransomware, consider training employees to identify malicious emails or emails that advise them to enable macros to view its content. 

Do you need help preventing ransomware or restoring files after an attack? Contact Spectra Networks for help. Call us at 978.219.9752 or visit our website