Ransomware and other cyber maladies have mercilessly ravaged companies and organizations the world over, with 2017 labeled “the worst year ever” for cyber incidents.

 

This was in large part due to the increasing instances of brazen ransomware attacks.

2018 has been absolutely brutal so far, with several high-profile victims losing the cybersecurity battle with denizens of the dark web.

At the end of the year, will 2018 be crowned with the regretful honor its predecessor was decorated with?

 

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious software that infiltrates your computer or network, oftentimes via bogus emails with attachments containing the payload. Once in, the malware denies you access to your data. This is usually achieved through encryption.

Salvation in the form of decryption keys is promised if a sum of money–a ransom–is paid. Victims are urged to follow the instructions to pay the attackers, though many experts recommend you don’t give in to the demands. There are many cases where the data is ultimately never restored, and the victim is left with a lighter bank account, and gobbledygook in the place of mission critical data.

If the victim doesn’t have a good backup, they are probably in serious trouble.

And even if the victim does have a backup, they risk costly downtime and a hit to their prestige as they wait for data and systems to be restored.

 

The ransomware assault: no signs of slowing down

As experts have predicted, ransomware assaults and other cyber attacks will continue to increase. It’s become good business for malware and ransomware authors, and with the availability of RaaS (Ransomware as a Service) in the dark web, non-technical criminals can get in on the action and launch attacks of their own.

Last week, the city of Atlanta was the victim of a ransomware cyberattack. The attack shut down Atlanta’s online systems. The Mayor mentioned at a news conference the cyber crooks had asked for a $51,000 ransom.

As of this writing, systems are still not back up. Atlanta city officials are filling out forms by hand, residents can’t pay their parking tickets, and court proceedings are delayed.

The ransomware is of the SamSam variety, a strain that emerged in late 2015. Its attacks have surged since December of last year, claiming many victims large and small across government, healthcare, and other industries.

On Wednesday of this week, a Boeing production plant in Charleston, South Carolina was reportedly hit with the WannaCry strain of ransomware. WannaCry gained infamy last year in a worldwide Blitzkrieg that’s estimated to have hit over 200,000 computers across 150 countries.

Indeed, 2018 has been a grim year so far.

 

Are you prepared for the scourge of ransomware?

Don’t make the dangerous assumption that the bad guys are only after the big fish.

According to a Verizon report, 61% of breaches targeted small businesses.

Sure, the large companies might have some juicy data or more cash to pay ransoms, but they also usually have better cybersecurity measures and professionals in place.

Smaller businesses may not have the budget for higher caliber security, thus they can be a prime target for hackers.

“Cybersecurity is no longer a topic or action item that can be avoided or even delayed,” said Brian Walker, CEO of InCare Technologies. “If you don’t put value in your business’s network security, you’re playing a dangerous game. You don’t know what’s going to come knocking on your network’s door.”

“Because no one piece of hardware or software can block all threats, we advocate a layered approach to security,” said Aaron Allen, Director of Technical Services at InCare.

“A firewall is a good foundation for security,” continued Allen. “In fact, we’re now offering a managed firewall service. From deployment to monitoring and maintenance, we’ll have your firewall continually tuned and ready to block the latest threats.

“We also offer other services, such as InDefend, which provides powerful cyber protection at the DNS level. And don’t forget your data backup. InVault Pro, our flagship product, is a managed data backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery service that’s the ultimate last line of defense. If your layers of security fail, you can ‘go back in time’ and restore a recent backup. Because InVault Pro uses image-based backups, restoration is a far more efficient process than other, more traditional backup methods.

Contact us today at 205-277-CARE for a free security consultation. Let us evaluate your current security situation and see how we can possibly improve it to better withstand the scourge of ransomware. For more information, view our ransomware support page.”

 

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