Hacking is on the rise. More specifically, the use of ransomware for hacking is growing exponentially, as hackers use this form of malware to encrypt computer files and deny users access to their own data.
In 2020 alone, hacking via ransomware attacks increased by 700% (or more). At this exponential rate of increase, it’s predicted that by 2025, at least 75% of IT organizations will grapple with a ransomware attack.
Since this hacking method targets data, resulting data loss costs are astronomical.
A report suggests that 61% of ransomware attack victims have lost data to corruption while 82% reported a significant loss of data.
With data loss come injurious business operation halts. These halts cost businesses up to 23x more than the ransom itself, yet they’re often left out of ransomware damage tallies. For small to medium enterprise (SMEs), business interruption costs average at $1.2 million, with the highest cost totaling $6.5 million.
Today’s ransomware hacking attacks are becoming increasingly multifaceted. Many misconceive ransomware attacks to be one-off, like the 2016 WannaCry attack, but these hacks are often far more complex. Ransomware is commonly used in conjunction with network penetration, credential harvesting, attacking backups, and/or double extortion. Getting ahold of your organization’s network with stolen credentials and/or malware, collecting login credentials for critical systems, such as Domain Name System (DNS), using data storage to provide a roadmap to what information is most sensitive, and publishing stolen data can have long-term and irrecoverable effects on any company.
You can protect your business, data, organization, and intellectual property through a few key safeguarding practices. First, stay up-to-date. Staying on top of patch and software updates is key to protecting yourself against ransomware. Second, augment employee awareness. Empower employees to assess whether an attachment, link, or email is trustworthy. Third, backup your data. Keeping critical data backed up on external devices to aid recovery should there be an attack. Lastly, invest in malware detection. Early detection of suspicious activity is your first line of defense.
As ransomware attacks become more sophisticated, hacks get more elaborate. They’re also becoming harder to untangle and more frequent, making them not a matter of if but when. Stay prepared, and know the costs.