You’re attempting to access your company computer system when the screen suddenly displays a jarring message. Your system is locked, and you have hours or a few days to pay a ransom that will restore access. This ultimatum is accompanied by a timer measuring how long you have to comply with this extortion before access to your systems is permanently revoked. Whether due to an employee clicking an unsafe link or an overall lack of network security, you’ve become a victim of Ransomware.
Ransomware is a form of malware (malicious software) that encrypts access to a computer system until the victim pays a ransom. It is typically spread through infected emails or websites, and can prove devastating to businesses of any size. Ransomware has been become alarmingly prolific in the last few years, with 2017’s WannaCry attack infecting over 200,000 computers across 150 countries. Perpetrators will typically target companies that house sensitive customer data on local servers, such as medical practices, law firms, and accounting services.
Network systems may be susceptible to ransom due to
Many cyber-criminals are drawn to ransomware because the encryption software is cheap, easily spread, and difficult to remove. Additionally, they can sell the sensitive data acquired from hacked systems should a Ransomware victim refuse to pay. Hackers often demand ransomware payment in untraceable Bitcoin, meaning there is no guarantee that they will restore a victim’s system access upon being paid.