Ransomware seems to always be in the cybersecurity news cycle as part of a large attack that usually results in a lot of money lost or huge damages to a business, and this is because this attack method has proven to be extremely successful over the years. Holding all the information on a company’s network hostage allows malicious actors to ask for just about any amount of money a company can afford to pay. This makes it extremely important for employees and business owners to understand what exactly ransomware is so that the threat can be taken seriously and properly guarded against.
What is Ransomware?
At its core, ransomware functions by encrypting critical files on a victim’s network, but instead of the network owners having the ability to unencrypt the data, malicious actors do. Once a malicious actor has a business’ most important files encrypted, they promise to send the keys necessary to unencrypt the network data after a sum of money is paid to them. In some cases, malicious actors will do as promised after the money is paid, but sometimes they will leverage their position to steal more data or demand more money from the victim.
How is Ransomware Delivered?
Ransomware is not an attack that occurs on its own. For the malicious actors to infect a system, they must first get the malicious program on the victim’s network in order for it to begin running and start encrypting data. The most common delivery method for ransomware is through a phishing campaign, where hackers will disguise their malware file as something that appears urgent and benign. Once the ransomware executable is downloaded, it will then try to propagate through the network, and it will stay on the network until it launches an attack or is found and removed.
How Much Damage Does Ransomware Cause?
The amount of damage a ransomware attack can do depends on if a company decides to pay the ransom and the malicious actor’s response to the ransom being paid or not. If a company pays the ransom to get their information back, then damages could be thousands, if not millions, of dollars because the malicious actors can ask for whatever they want. In addition to this, the hackers can take the ransom and then either refuse to release the data until they get more money or steal the data to sell on the dark web. In the worst-case scenario, hackers will use the information they steal from a network to then go after that company’s clients and close business partners.
It is more important now than ever to learn as much as possible about ransomware because hackers have been increasing their use of it for years. Kits sold on the dark web have lowered the barrier of entry for malicious actors to perform the attack, and plenty of businesses have given in and paid the ransom for their data. This combination of ease of use and efficacy make ransomware a looming threat for any business’ cybersecurity. If you’re worried about ransomware and want to begin protecting your business, then our team here at Robinett Consulting wants to help. We’re always at the ready to help defend and secure businesses of any size.