Big companies Small Companies, it makes no difference we are all susceptible to the same criminal elements when it comes to ransomware.
Ransomware is a new form of malware that comes in a variety of flavors that keep changing. Currently, there are two types out there – (1) where the malware locks your computer that it becomes unusable – your computer is taken hostage, or (2) the malware encrypts all your data and shared files, so they are not accessible and readable. Yes, that includes shared files, in fact any data you share with others (all parties cannot access the data). Unfortunately, I’ve been the victim of the latter…..
While I have no answers on how to limit your exposure to such malware – I do suggest you take a proactive stance, review internet usage policies, consider restricting websites that are known to host or carry such malware or install applications that monitor all attachments and links within emails. Make sure your back up your data daily and it works. Furthermore, contact your IT specialist to find a suitable solution for your particular situation and network.
This week Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital paid $17,000 to unlock their data. http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/02/hospital-pays-17k-for-ransomware-crypto-key/
Last week Lincolnshire council also paid the ransom to unlock their data http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/01/lincolnshire_council_ransom_a_whopping_350/
If you pay up – one would take into account both the cash outlay (hard costs) to remedy this situation and then calculate the soft costs associated there too, you would be extremely surprised at the costs involved. Soft coats should include loss of operational activities, employee decline of efficiency, turning business down, redirecting business to competitors, and the cost of reacquiring lost business. Even if you pay up, there is no guarantee, that your data lock will be released, or you won’t get hijacked again.
If you don’t give in to hostage takers – one would have to consider similar costs as detailed above, with the additional cost of recreating lost data, and time – that’s something no one can ever replenish. Also, consider how long it will take you to be fully operational again….. Do you have enough cash to weather the storm?
In both instances, there is a lot of aggravation and stress, which is truly unquantifiable.
While, we all know there are no guarantees in life, being proactive is a better bet than trying to resolve the challenges. Let’s all try to avoid this one!