Ransomware attacks are when malware gets installed on a computer, typically via an email attack and can quickly infect an entire business network. Attackers demand a ‘ransom’ fine to be paid in order for the user or business to regain access to their files. Attackers will often threaten to expose sensitive data or delete critical information in an effort to extort a ransom payment.
A data breach is an incident where confidential or sensitive protected data has been accessed and compromised. Common types of data breaches are when hackers gained access into a corporate website and steals credit card numbers, personal information, healthcare records and more. But are ransomware attacks data breaches? Most experts will agree that yes, ransomware infections are a form of a data breach. Below we will explain why as well as how you can protect your business from cyber threats.
Some businesses that have been attacked with Ransomware will issue statements advising that no data breach or data loss of sensitive information to third parties occurred. The reality, however, is that when any type of malicious software infects or manipulates any part of your organizational data, whether it be file-encrypting ransomware or data-stealing trojans, it is, in fact, a breach.
Hackers are known to use Ransomware attacks to try and cover up more serious data breaches that are taking place in the background. Like a smoke screen, they will infect a server with Ransomware to try and hide or erase clues of a breach having occurred and hoping that the organization doesn’t investigate further after being distracted from recovering from the Ransomware attack. As Ransomware and data breaches are so closely linked, businesses must remain vigilant in protecting themselves against constantly evolving cyber security threats.
Although there are effective ways to protect against Ransomware attacks, many small to medium size businesses are simply not ready. In the recent 2019 Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey Report, 75% of the SMBs polled stated that they believed if they were successfully attacked by Ransomware that it would be harmful to their business and cause both short and long term losses. 55% of those businesses said they would be willing to pay a ransom at almost any cost necessary to prevent data from being shared or to receiver encrypted files.
Ransomware is a booming industry and is becoming more sophisticated. The Global Ransomware Marketplace Report released for Q4 2018 showed a 13% increase in ransom amounts from the previous quarter, with the average ransom payment being $6,733. Attacks are also taking longer and causing more disruption to operations, with an average attack lasting 6.2 days.
Businesses must be concerned about Ransomware attacks and be proactive. There are three steps that every business should follow to implement a simple yet effective cyber security strategy:
Now that you know how devastating ransomware attacks and data breaches can be, don’t leave your business exposed or make the mistake of assuming that your organization is too small to be a target for hackers. To evaluate your risk and find out if your business is a target for cybercrime, get a free assessment today.