Cyber Awareness month: The rise of Ransomware

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software which takes control of its victims device and encrypts the data making it unobtainable. The cybercriminal then demands a sum of money (often the digital currency bitcoin) in exchange for returning their sensitive data.

The first ever recorded ransomware was the Aids Trojan in 1989 and was spread via floppy disk. Since these humble beginnings Ransomware has changed dramatically- it is now a billion pound industry.

The statistics

Do you know what you would do if you saw the dreaded message: ‘your personal files are encrypted, pay the ransom to retrieve your data’?

Though no one ever expects to be hit by such an attack, it is predicted that ransomware hits a new victim every 10 seconds.

While 54% of UK businesses are said to have been hit by a ransomware attack in the past year, over half of these eventually gave in and paid the ransom.

Businesses often think this is a quick and cost effective way of retrieving data. However, this is what allows ransomware to evolve at such an alarming rate. By paying the ransom you are directly funding the development of more intelligent strains of ransomware.

How can Equilibrium help?

At Equilibrium we still believe that when it comes to protecting your organisation, security solutions cannot be looked at in isolation. You must look at people, processes and the technical infrastructure you implement; the below are recommendations that relate directly to Ransomware.

• Patch Management – apply manufacturer software updates.
• Don’t run out of date/unsupported manufacturer systems
• Implement advanced security systems – that can undertake advanced malware analysis and incorporate Intrusion Protection Systems
• Regularly back your data up – so that if you are impacted, you have a roll back point

Equilibrium understands the risk Ransomware poses for your business, which is why we offer a service called Ransomware Protect. This works off a cloud based application called Cisco Umbrella and it is proven to block up to 85% of Ransomware intrusions.

It is an extremely intelligent application which is able to block malware threats before they even materialise, it analyses them on a global graph of internet activity on a DNS level. If it sees that an IP address has been associated with any malicious ransomware, the request will be blocked before it is even able to take hold of your device.

If you are concerned that your business could be vulnerable to a ransomware attack or you would like some more information on our services, please do not hesitate to get in touch!