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What is ransomware and how can it damage your business?

Cybercrime is a huge topic of conversation these days with reports of cyber-attacks rising.

A recent report from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), showed there were 34 significant and 762 less significant attacks reported between October 2016 and the end of 2017. And that’s not all of them – many went unreported.

The report claims that “2018 will bring more of these attacks”… The NCSC releases weekly reports which document the growing number of threats for business.

What is ransomware? How does it work and what can you do to prevent it from crippling your business?

What is it?

The clue is in the name. It’s a mix-up of the two words “ransom” and “malware”.

“Malware” defines any software which is intended to disrupt your computer, laptop or mobile.

“Ransomware” is a form of malware which will hold your device to ransom, demanding payment before it allows you to access your machine again.

Just like any other ransom, the amount that you have to pay for the criminals to give up control completely depends on the situation, but it’s usually at least a large inconvenience and waste of your time.

Real life ransomware

To give you some insight into just how damaging a ransomware attack can be, here are some real-life ransomware attacks that have happened in recent years.

WannaCry

The first one to discuss is the WannaCry attack, which is famous for attacking the NHS.

The WannaCry ransomware creates encrypted copies of sensitive files and deletes the originals. The new encrypted versions can’t be accessed without a code, which of course, would cost a lot of money.

“!read.me.txt!” files walks the user through the process of paying the attackers and threatens both a loss of data and increase in ransom price if the ransom isn’t paid by a certain date. Each infected system is required to pay roughly £230, but the cost for the NHS remains unknown.

As well as the NHS, WannaCry has spread to more than 150 countries in a worldwide attack. It could have affected any business in the world, including yours.

LeakerLocker

An example that can be more relatable and daunting for the general public is the LeakerLocker ransomware.

Dissimilar to WannaCry, LeakerLocker attacks Android devices and demands a payment of $50 from the owner of the phone.

If the user fails to pay, the ransomware could share text messages, photos, videos, emails and internet history with everybody in the user’s contact list. As you can well imagine, many affected users pay the ransom.

These are just two of the many ransomware attacks that significantly affected businesses last year. A more comprehensive list can be found here.

Prevention

If cybersecurity isn’t a priority for your business already, it should be. It’s important to ensure that any cyber defence solutions you invest in are capable of dealing with ransomware attacks.

Cyber attacks are on the rise and can be very costly for your business.

We’re partnered with Symantec, who have been industry leaders developing the best solutions for cybersecurity since 1982 and the infancy of the Internet.

Endpoint Protection is their flagship system which is now in its 14th evolution. Currently, it protects more than 175 million endpoints across the globe.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence combine to form multi-layered protection that beats ransomware, learning from attacks to improve its defences.

Gartner positions Symantec as the highest in execution and furthers in vision in the Endpoint Protection Platforms Magic Quadrant – you can read more into this here.

At EBS we are committed to providing excellent security services and solutions to our customers. Which is why we partner up with only the best providers of cybersecurity hardware and software.

Discover how your business can use Endpoint Protection 14 here or call EBS on 0121 384 2513 to speak to one of our security specialists.