Skyrocketing Ransomware During COVID-19 Pandemic

Ransomware attacks are skyrocketing during Covid-19

Ransomware attacks are skyrocketing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to some statistics over 50% of business experienced some form of a ransomware attack in 2020. With extortions payments doubling as well. Attacks on our home and personal accounts are also growing.

A ransomware attacks have cost businesses billions of dollars.  Knowing how to protect yourself is essential for staying in business.

Most ransomware starts with phishing email messages to your employees. Keeping your staff trained in cybersecurity is the best defense. In this article, we are going to show you the threats of the future that you and your employees need to know about.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is not like any other kind of malware. Once ransomware attacks your system, you will be locked out of the machine and your data will be encrypted.

You will receive an extortion message on the screen with directions to pay a ransom to the hackers. While these vary from ransomware to ransomware, the result is the same. It demands a ransom to restore your PC to working order.

If you do not have backups of your system, there is nothing you can do to recover your files from ransomware. The decryption key is normally stored on a remote server. If you do not pay the ransom it is possible that your files will be permanently lost.

So, the best protection against ransomware is to educate your employees and ensure you have proper backups.

Ransomware News: The Future of Ransomware

Ransomware is already a huge problem, but since the COVID-19 pandemic it has been only getting worse. In this section, we will look at some of the most troubling developments in recent ransomware news.

Ransom Prices are Increasing

Ransom prices can fluctuate and are increasing. As ransomware becomes more and more sophisticated, the ransoms are increasing.

There are also more “ransomware tools” that are available on the dark web to help unsophisticated hackers now and this is adding to the growing risk. 

We are Going to See More Attacks on Public Organizations

It is not only private companies that have to worry about ransomware. Local, state, and Tribal government agencies are frequent targets for these attacks. Attacks on healthcare organizations is growing as well and some statistics expect this to double in the future.

Ransomware Can Target Your Most Important Files

Ransomware’s sophistication is growing and growing. While encryption is common, other tools are being added to ransomware’s arsenal.

One of these is simply corrupting your database rather than encrypting it. This could involve dropping databases’ tables, changing your records, or deleting whole databases.

Another possible future variant of ransomware would be one that specifically targets backups. As these are the only surefire way to get around ransomware, this would be hugely problematic.

Ransomware on the Internet of Things

We have looked at the future of ransomware on computers, but what about other devices? Ransomware that targets the internet of things is particularly problematic.

What is the Internet of Things?

The internet of things is the name given to networked smart devices. These could be smart televisions, thermostats, locks, refrigerators, or anything else that is hooked up to your network.

How Does Ransomware Target Smart Devices?

Researchers have shown that ransomware can infect smart thermostats. This ransomware could lock the temperature of your home or business at a certain level, only letting you change it if you pay a ransom.

While ransomware can cause serious damage to businesses, this has the potential to be even worse. Imagine a cold winter where the heating has been programmed to always be off. This could have serious impacts on the health of you or your employees.

While thermostats are the most talked-about, other devices are also vulnerable.

An attack on a smart refrigerator could spoil a restaurant’s food. An attack on smart TVs could devastate a bar’s custom. An attack on smart locks could leave you unable to even access your place of business.

Why Smart Devices are Vulnerable

Smart devices are particularly vulnerable because there is no easy way to restore your lost data. The internet of things almost always keeps its data in the cloud. If this is encrypted, you cannot just access it and restore a backup. Strong passwords on all IoT devices is a must. You should also update the firmware regularly.

How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

All ransomware news points towards a future where more sophisticated malware, greater spread, and new variants make its impact all the worse.

There is no way to completely bulletproof your data. Even if it were offline, an infected USB stick could still spread ransomware to your system.

The only way to prevent ransomware attacks is by training your staff  and proper backups. Following information security best practices is key.

If your staff is training properly on what the should and should not be doing with emails, USB devices, and downloads, you will reduce your risk dramatically.

Providing ongoing security awareness training provides great ROI to reduce all cybersecurity risk.

If you would like to stay protected and make sure your staff knows how to prevent ransomware attacks, get in touch with us. We will be able to answer any questions you may have and give you a quote for the training.