Updated: Jul 22
You've seen it all over the news lately; the Colonial Pipeline Company (one of the largest pipeline operators in the US), JBS (the world's largest meat company), and even computer manufacturer giant Acer have all become victims of massive Ransomware attacks in 2021. Some of these attacks have resulted in the affected companies paying up to 11 million dollars to regain access to their data!
According to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report, the Internet Crime Complaint Center received 791,790 cybercrime complaints in 2020, with reported losses exceeding $4.1 billion. This record number of complaints represents a 69 percent increase in total complaints over 2019 alone. Global ransomware costs are expected to reach $20 billion in 2021.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it. Ransomware variants have been observed for several years and often attempt to extort money from victims by displaying an on-screen alert. Typically, these alerts state that the user’s systems have been locked or that the user’s files have been encrypted. Users are told that unless a ransom is paid, access will not be restored.
Could I become a target?
YES. While you see massive companies like Colonial Pipeline in the news and may think I'm too small to be targeted by Ransomware - this couldn't be further from the truth. At StarNet Technologies we have seen first hand small mom & pop businesses and even individuals become victims of Ransomware.
How does a Ransomware attack occur?
The most common entry point that we see for Ransomware attacks is via phishing emails. These phishing emails have become very sophisticated with even savvy computer users being fooled. All it takes is one employee opening one email and there is the potential for a major ransomware infection at your company. We have seen this happen first hand at a client of StarNet. One employee opened one email and by the time we got the call 1/3 of their computers were infected and had to be taken off the network. We later discovered that this infection was the beginning of a ransomware attack. StarNet Technologies was able to stop the infection from spreading and prevent any data loss, however this meant that 1/3 of their computers were could not be used while we contained and cleaned up the infection - a process that took several days!
How can I protect my company?
Ransomware is all about your data. First and foremost make sure that your company has a comprehensive backup system in place. This should include not just redundant copies onsite, but proper cloud backups as well. Don't know where to start? StarNet Technologies can help!
Knowledge is power. Regular cyber security employee training and education is key. Here is a great resource for your employees to review! We highly recommend you and everyone in your company review this document.
Network Maintenance: Up-to-date AntiVirus, Firewalls, and Operating Systems reduce the risk of infection. StarNet Technologies offers month maintenance plans, taking the guesswork out of keeping your systems up to date!