The Growing Impact of Ransomware

The Growing Impact of Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are on the rise due to a newer generation of ransomware that is so pernicious that it has the ability to completely paralyze business-critical operations. Common strains like TorrentLocker, CTB Locker, Locky, and CryptoWall can spread beyond an individual computer to corrupt any shared resources the machine has access to, denying organizations access to shared files and databases.

The most insidious ransomware even destroy backup files like Windows Shadow Copies that could otherwise be used to restore data. An attack of this magnitude could bring down an entire division at a large firm by preventing employees from carrying out basic tasks, while a smaller business could have to stop operations completely. Read on to learn about the growing impact and costs ransomware could have on your business.

The Impact of Ransomware on the Rise

Armed with new capacities, ransomware hackers on the rise have started taking aim at ever-more lucrative marks like large businesses and government agencies. Medical facilities like hospitals have become an especially popular target, due to their reputation for outdated IT security and their role in providing lifesaving services.

To avoid putting patients at risk due to lack of treatment, hospitals are keen to get their systems back online as soon as possible, making them much more likely to deliver a ransom. In the case of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles, for example, the hospital made headlines in early 2016 when it chose to pay nearly $17,000 in Bitcoins after a Locky infection disabled operations for over a week.

The Cost of Ransomware on the Rise

With severe consequences at stake, it’s not hard to see why many managers ultimately decide to pay up instead of investing in systems that can prevent ransomware attacks. No one wants to put their hard-earned revenue into the hands of a criminal, but it’s often a better alternative than getting hammered by lost productivity—or in the case of a hospital—risking patient lives and incurring litigation from angry families.

Analysts estimate a single hour of inactivity costs small businesses an average of $8,581. Multiply that by two days of downtime (the average experienced by most businesses hit with ransom hacks), and you’re facing a lot of lost revenue. When confronted with those numbers, coughing up a $1000 or $2000 ransom might seem like a small price to pay to get your business back online.

Wherever the costs come from, though, they all add up to make ransomware a very expensive form of cyber crime. As attacks proliferate, the cost for affected businesses is getting worse. Datto projects the financial impact of ransomware has reached a staggering $75 billion a year.

Preventing Attacks

Even if you get your business back online, there is still the danger to your reputation. Businesses may worry about sensitive client information landing in the hands of criminals. Even a short-lived ransom attack can devolve into a serious public relations disaster by raising questions about your security measures, scaring away potential customers and driving down long-term revenue.

Preventing these attacks in the first place is the only real way to ensure your data, money, and company operations stay safe. Working with a cyber security company, like NIC, helps to ensure that your data is protected, backed up, and monitored at all times.

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