A consistent surge of ransomware attacks over the last couple of years has caused the Ransomware Task Force (RTF) to take more serious action. The task force, consisting of the US Department of Justice, US National Crime Agency, and major tech firms, recently sent a report to the President’s office mapping out a framework to combat this ever increasing problem.

 

What exactly is the problem?

 

These cybercriminals are not only targeting vulnerable entities like hospitals and financial institutions; they are also targeting essential businesses, as witnessed by the recent Colonial Pipeline attack. Hackers either scramble, encrypt, or steal an organization’s data and demand a sum of money, usually in the payment of bitcoin, in order to return or unlock the data back to the organization. While not advisable to comply with the ransom demands, about 66% of all ransomware attacks in 2020 were either fully or partially paid. These groups pressure companies into making quick decisions. And when they are dealing with particularly sensitive information that has not been properly backed up, the ransom is paid the majority of the time.

 

How do these groups come to be in control of a company’s assets? The malware is sent to an employee of the company through a social engineering attack. In short, the malware is sent to an employee in an infected email, link, attachment, advertisement, or program disguised as legitimate communication. Given the vast variety of malware in cyberspace, it is almost impossible to fully block it from infecting your device once it gets on there.

 

How can you protect yourself?

 

You can protect yourself by practicing safe work security habits, such as:

 

– Keeping your programs and operating systems up to date

– Do not open, click, or download unknown files or links.

– Enabling multi factor identification

– Managing and limiting administrative permissions

– Using strong passwords that are changed on a regular basis

– Blocking suspicious emails, links, or websites

– Using a reliable security provider with access to firewalls and other network defenses.

 

Still worried your company is in jeopardy? Call us today for a FREE assessment of your security risks!

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