...may not be what you think it is. If you’re wondering whether you guessed right or wrong, then read on. Let’s explore how ransomware — a type of malware that encrypts data and essentially locks victims out of their own files or systems until they pay a ransom — devastates its victims.
Businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies rely heavily on their data to operate, so once ransomware locks them out, it’s like having a wrench thrown into the gears of heavy machinery. For example, if subscriber information is encrypted by hackers, then services may be stalled and payment transactions may fall through.
Furthermore, even if the infection is small, time-intensive tasks such as quarantining it and scanning the rest of your network are prioritized over everything else. And if the infection is pervasive, business continuity and disaster recovery strategies must be implemented immediately. You may even need to revert to paper-based systems just to keep operations running.
All in all, preparedness and tenacity can help you prevent or recover from downtime. However, even when the loss of time is mitigated and the pace of operations returns to normal, going back to business as usual will still be difficult. This is because of far bigger things you’ll most likely lose after being attacked with ransomware.
Reduction of funds
According to Brian Stevenson, president of cybersecurity firm FocusPoint Technologies, roughly only one out of three ransom payors get their data back. However, for many small businesses, it’s more expensive to suffer downtime than it is to pay the ransom, so they still give in to the hackers’ demands. And they do so discreetly, because they’ll lose more than the current payment if word of them being victimized gets out.
Data that can’t be recovered
For organizations that can’t pay the ransom and don’t have data backups to fall back on, their data is lost forever. This is also the case for those that do pay but get decryption keys that don’t work. There have been cases of firms that shut down, not only because continuing to operate without their data is an uphill battle, but also because they’ll suffer the biggest loss of all:
Lost customer trust
Getting infected with ransomware indicates one or more of the following:
- Outdated and/or insufficient cybersecurity tools
- Lax cybersecurity policies
- Lack of cybersecurity awareness in your organization
Any of these will make customers nervous about doing business with an organization. They'll think:
- My personal information isn't safe with that firm. I shouldn't do business with them, nor should my family and friends.
- I used my devices to interact with that company. Did these get infected, too?
- If the hacker now knows about me, I can become their next victim.
- Hackers exposed personal data from celebrities and politicians before. I hope there's nothing embarrassing about me to expose to the public!
These thoughts of worry and paranoia are exacerbated when customers find out that the company kept the ransomware attack secret from them, so honesty is the best policy.
However, solid cybersecurity policies and tools help dramatically reduce your chances of being infected by ransomware in the first place. Cybercriminals highly prefer the easy mark, so let XBASE put the tools, techniques, and protections in place to shield you from potential attacks. Our comprehensive cybersecurity services will let you:
- Avoid costly downtime
- Minimize the risk of having to pay ransoms
- Have confidence in both the security of customer and company data and your backups
- Retain customers’ trust
- Increase everyday peace-of-mind
Start learning more about our Exponentially Better™ cybersecurity services by downloading our eBook now.
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