Ransomware, Who's at Risk?

Remember WannaCry? It was the ransomware that infected over 300,000 machines in 150 countries around the globe last year. Experts are referring to this data massacre as the most expansive ransomware outbreak in history. But WannaCry is just one of the hundreds of examples of ransomware that can wreak havoc on your data and cost your business massive amounts of cash. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s leading researcher covering the global cyber economy, international ransomware damage costs are predicted to exceed $11.5 billion annually by 2019. Though technically everyone is at risk for infection, some companies are more vulnerable than others. Do you store information that’s attractive to hackers (banking or credit card information, social security numbers, patent details, etc.)? Have you backed up all your important files? Is your security up to date and in working order? Are all of your employees well-trained in successfully spotting phishing emails? Find out here. Even if your data is well-protected, there are certain businesses that are simply more likely to be targeted. The 2016 Kaspersky Security Bulletin broke down the percentage of ransomware attacks by business sector globally in 2016:  Industry sector% attacked with ransomware1 Education 23 2 IT/Telecoms 22 3 Entertainment/Media 21 4 Financial Services 21 5 Construction 19 6 Government/ public sector/defence 18 7 Manufacturing 18 8 Transport 17 9 Healthcare 16 10 Retail/wholesale/leisure 16   To evaluate why these sectors are so hard-hit by ransomware, one must only ask the questions above to get the answer on why their data is so attractive to the bad guys. In the education sector for example, data might include bank account information, social insurance numbers, and private or sensitive research, making it incredibly desirable and valuable to hackers. In terms of security, throughout a college campus a large amount of file transfers occur among a plethora of people, many of whom are unaware or insufficiently protected against cyber security, phishing scams, and malware threats. Ransomware hackers target government and health services since inhibiting access to files in these sectors is dangerous to the health and safety of civilians, making it more likely hackers would be paid to quickly release the data. In 2017, Britain’s National Health Services was hit hard by WannaCry, forcing doctors and surgeons to cancel appointments and urge patients to avoid seeking medical treatment while files were held for ransom. Besides organizations in the top-ten industries hit by ransomware, many other companies are also frequently targeted. According to Intermedia, one in four businesses infected have more than 1,000 employees and nearly half of these attacks affect 20 or more personnel per business. Kaspersky’s 2016 study determined one business will be infected with ransomware every 40 seconds, and that 42 percent of small-to medium-sized business were infected in a 12-month period. In the past, these companies were usually targeted through mass-emails, however studies are showing that hackers are becoming more selective with their emailing, sending out targeted mail to specific businesses they suspect will be willing to pay to retrieve their data. The bottom line is, if you have data you can’t afford to lose, you will be a viable target for ransomware hackers. The best way to save your files from an attack is to ensure all your critical data is backed-up and easily recoverable. If you’re nervous about ransomware and haven’t yet created a backup and recovery plan, StorageCraft may be the perfect fit for your needs. Contact us today for more information on our solutions or for your free trial of our StorageCraft ® ShadowProtect ® SPX .

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