Digitization has helped us in many ways and we can say that it has guided us towards a new phase of transformation. Without digitization, we wouldn’t have been able to come so far in the race of technological advancement. From businesses to daily lives, digitization has made changes everywhere. From accuracy to cost-effectiveness, there are a wide range of benefits people gained after moving to the digital platform but the growth of digitization has also widened opportunities for criminals and other evil-minded people.
In the current era, there are different types of cyberattacks being used by criminals and recently everyone came to know about the ugliest and the most sever type of cyberattack that is known as ransomware. Recently, wannacry; one of the most severe and large scale ransomware attacked a large number of businesses and it turned out to be one of the most sever ransomware attacks of all time. You will be surprised to know that the wannacry ransomware affected almost 100,000 to 200,000 computers across 150 countries and that’s a very large scale target.
Ransomware is basically a type of malware that is used by criminals in order to encrypt sensitive data from a computer. After the data gets encrypted, the authentic user loses access to the data. After this, the criminal asks for a ransom for removing the encryption from the data otherwise he threatens to delete the whole data. In some cases, if the ransom is not paid on time, the criminal threatens the user by deleting a portion of his data.
But ransomware is not only about encryption of data and asking for ransom. There are many other things involved in ransomware attack and we are going to discuss about them in this blog.
Most of the people think that since ransomware attacks are very large scale attacks, they must be limited to large scale businesses only. Since giant businesses have more sensitive data and by targeting them, hackers will be able to pull off more money, people usually think that hackers must be including only giant businesses only while planning for attack. But that’s not true. You should know that, nowadays, even small businesses are being targeted by ransomware attackers. It doesn’t matter whether you are the only person in your business or working with only 10 employees, if you have money and data, then you will always be on the list of attackers.
If you are not well prepared for the ransomware attack then you will be left with no other option than paying the ransom amount to the hackers. It is true that most of the people try to fight the ransom but in many situations, paying the ransom is the only solution. Ransomware attacks are similar to the traditional ransom where criminals used to kidnap people and ask for ransom, but the only difference is that everything has not turned digital and instead of people, criminals are taking data hostage. The criminals will block your access to data and then ask for ransom. All the criminals know that data is the most valuable asset of any company and that’s why businesses will do anything to get back the access.
It is true that the hackers ask ransom in the form of currency value but it doesn’t mean that you will be paying the criminal through your credit card. If criminals will start taking your money then they will have to open an account for it which can be later traced by cyber police. A criminal who can block your access on your own computer isn’t that dumb to leave a trail where people can later find him. This is why, most of the cyber criminals will ask you ransom in the form of Bitcoins. Paying the criminals in the form of Bitcoins doesn’t sound bad at first, until you realize something terrible about it.
You must have heard about Bitcoins before as it is the most popular form of digital currency which is still a hot topic of debate. Bitcoin was in the news for a long period of time and you might have not paid much attention to it but other surely had. You might be wondering why ransom is asked in the form of Bitcoins. After all, it is a digital currency which is bought with real money just like you do while making in-game purchase, right? But unfortunately, Bitcoins can be used in the real world. The exchange rate of Bitcoins is very expensive and there is finite amount of Bitcoins that can be created.
Digital currencies like Bitcoin are criminal’s best friends. This is because it is very easy to trace a cash transaction. If you will transfer a sum of money to an account then it can be easily traced by the bank and the criminal will end up behind the bars. This isn’t going to be the case if the cash is received by the criminals after being converted into digital currency by you. As the money leaves the usual channel of transaction, it becomes quite difficult for anyone to trace it.
Using anti-virus and anti-malware can keep your system safe from different types of ransomware that tries to sneak into your computer system. But there is another way ransomware can trick you to get inside. Some ransomware looks like legit emails. Most of these emails will offer you a tempting offer but when you will click on it, it will attack your computer and you entire computer access will be locked.
It is very much necessary to take preventive measures against ransomware attacks and stay safe. Never think that ransomware attacks will never hit you just because you are running a small business. Keep your employees informed about different types of ransomware attacks and follow the security protocols.