Ransomware Attacks are on the Rise


What is Ransomeware

Ransomware is a malware attack that encrypts a victim’s data so it can no longer be accessed and then demands a ransom. Once the payment is made, the attacker provides a decryption key to restore access to the victim’s data. The ransom amount can vary widely, ranging from a few hundred dollars to millions.

You can unknowingly download ransomware onto a computer by opening an email attachment, clicking an ad, following a link, or even visiting a website that’s embedded with malware.

The ransom is often demanded in a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, to facilitate an online and anonymous payment. If the ransom is not paid in a timely manner, the amount demanded may increase until ultimately the user’s data is destroyed entirely.

Image by Pete Linforth, The Digital Artist, from Pixabay

Some Scary Ransomware Statistics

The Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) says there was a 13% rise in ransomware attacks year-over-year from 2021. This rise is a greater increase than the previous five years combined.

  • The Ransomware Taskforce estimated that small businesses were the victims of 70% percent of ransomware attacks in 2021.
  • Almost half of the organizations (49%) paid ransom to prevent revenue losses, and another 41% paid ransom to quicken the recovery process.
  • Even if companies pay the settlement, they typically only get about 60% of their data back. Only 4% received all their data.
  • Once you pay, the same group of criminals often attack again in six months to a year. And they can sell your info on the dark web announcing to other cybercriminals that you’re an easy mark.

Scariest of all – Ransomware has become so lucrative that you don’t even need to be tech-savvy, Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is a cybercrime economic model that allows malware developers to earn money without the need to get their hands dirty. Criminals buy the software and launch the infections paying the developers a percentage of the take.


Tips From the FBI

The best way to avoid being exposed to ransomware—or any type of malware—is to be a cautious and conscientious computer user. Malware distributors have gotten increasingly savvy, and you need to be careful about what you download and click on.


Other tips:

  • Keep operating systems, software, and applications current and up to date.
  • Make sure anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are set to automatically update and run regular scans.
  • Back up data regularly and double-check that those backups were completed.
  • Secure your backups. Make sure they are not connected to the computers and networks they are backing up.
  • Only use secure networks, avoid using public wi-fi
  • Practice safe surfing
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