There has been a sharp rise in ransomware attacks in the past few years. It is an ever-growing problem that is quickly turning into an extremely lucrative business for cyber criminals. In fact, according to Cisco’s annual cybersecurity report, ransomware is considered to be the most profitable malware in history. It is now a billion-dollar criminal industry that’s growing at an annual rate of 350%.
2017 even saw the biggest ransomware outbreak the world had ever seen when the WannaCry ransomware variant was unleashed to cause havoc on a global scale in a matter of days, giving us a glimpse of the potential damage it could cause if ransomware is left unchecked.
Unlike other types of malware, ransomware locks out or encrypts your valuable documents and files, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid. But just like in a traditional ransom situation, there’s no guarantee that your system will be restored to its prior state once payment has been made.
Ransomware is for the most part deployed indiscriminately via exploit kits or mass phishing campaigns and once a system is breached, cyber criminals only need to encrypt data and wait for the money to roll in. This makes it much easier for them to make a profit than actually stealing data and then trying to resell it.
The combination of simplicity and deviousness is one of the reasons that ransomware is growing so rapidly in popularity, not to mention in sophistication and diversity – with new variants created every day. And with Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) now on the cards, it’s easier than ever for would-be cyber crooks to get in on the act.
With all that said, it’s no longer a question of if but when you will be hit with a ransomware attack. Organisations need to proactively make security a priority before they’re ever targeted by an attacker. Some of the best practices that every organization should employ include educating and raising security awareness among employees and having a comprehensive backup and DR plan as well as robust security measures in place.
As one of the leading security companies in the market, Cisco’s Ransomware Defense solution leverages the Cisco security architecture to protect enterprises, thwarting ransomware in all the places it attempts to attack a network. This means layered, complementary protection extending from the DNS layer to email, the network, and the endpoint.
In the face of the growing threat of ransomware, it truly is a case of better safe than sorry. If your computer systems are not adequately protected, it’s only a matter of time until you’re part of the statistics.