Ransomware attacks normally start with something as inconspicuous as an email.
Hackers often try to impersonate a trustworthy source, so the recipient may think the email is coming from a company or person they know. Just by clicking a link or opening an attachment, the recipient may be exposing your organization to malicious software.
In the case of the St. Louis Public Library, malware was installed a different way in 2016: through a network break-in. It didn’t take long before the hackers were demanding $35,000 to relinquish control of more than 700 computers. The library was able to restore IT security because of frequent backups, but some organizations aren’t so prepared.*1
How Much Do Ransomware Attacks Cost?
Ransomware demands in the United States may exceed $1.3 billion in the United States in 2020 alone, according to a report based on hundreds of thousands of incidents. This cost only accounts for the ransom demands themselves, and businesses may lose much more because of prolonged downtimes. Once factoring in the cost of being down for 16 days, companies in the United States alone may lose over $9.2 billion because of ransomware throughout 2020.*2
The average ransom demand as of Q4 2019 was $84,116*3, but some organizations have been hit several times harder. Three different government organizations in Florida got attacked within three weeks in 2019, and at least two of the three ended up paying $500,000 or more each.*4 Hackers don’t just go after big organizations, either. In recent years, some cybercriminals have realized it’s easier to go after small or medium businesses that don’t have good defenses.
Once an organization is subjected to a ransomware attack, they’re between a rock and a hard place. Refuse to pay up, and you might be looking at weeks of downtime, lost data, and other disasters that can cripple operations. When a business does pay up, they’re essentially adding malicious hackers to their payroll. Worse still, organizations that pay ransomware demands are identified as known buyers, which may inspire more attacks in the future.
How to Prevent Ransomware
Instead of choosing the lesser of two evils during an attack, take a proactive approach against ransomware. Each of the following steps can dramatically reduce IT risk for an organization:
1 – Back up Your Data
Some businesses pay ransomware demands because they simply can’t afford to lose their data. Cloud-based backup is a critical part of any disaster recovery plan. This is why the St. Louis library was able to recover so well from their attack.
2 – Keep Remote Access Secure
Employees are at higher risk when traveling, working from home, or using public internet. Secure remote access is a must-have now that everyone works on the go.
3 – Outsource Cybersecurity to a Reliable IT Company
Cyber criminals are always finding new ways to cause chaos, steal data, and extort businesses. As hackers get more sophisticated, it’s a full time job to stay a step ahead of them. If you don’t have the payroll to build a team of security experts, find an IT security partner to protect your business.
IT Security Service in St. Louis
Here at ThrottleNet, we like to think of ourselves as the opposite of the hackers we oppose. Instead of giving you two bad choices like ransomware does, we want you to have lots of options. That’s why we offer free consultations, allowing you to gather more information before you make a decision. Contact us today to get started, and we’ll get to work protecting your business.