Ransomware Rampages

Ransomware Rampages: seems like every week there’s another municipality or company making headlines for being ransomware victims. Why so many? How?

Ransomware Review

What is ransomware? It’s a type of malware that encrypts files on computers. The ransomware generates a key to decrypt the files that the victim has to pay to get.

Ransomware can be network aware and installed on computers without user interaction. It’s been around since 2012.

Previously ransomware was more a crime of opportunity but recently we’ve seen a surge in targeted ransomware. Hackers are going after big fish like cities and businesses.

Ransomware Rampages

Baltimore, Riviera Beach Florida, Stratford Ontario, the list of cities fallen to ransomware just keeps growing.

I want to focus on the Baltimore story as there has been a lot of coverage on their troubles.

The city of Baltimore IT infrastructure was infected on May 7th. On top of having no files and no email, the city’s VOIP phones were also out of commission. The city couldn’t process any payments for things like parking or water bills. And you couldn’t sell a house as the city couldn’t generate the necessary paperwork.

The city had no cyber insurance and an antiquated IT infrastructure. By the end of June, Baltimore had restored their email, phones and were able to take payments again. The city estimated their costs at around $10 million. Security experts have pegged it as at least double that.

Cost of Ransomware

What are the costs of ransomware? Why is the City of Baltimore estimate of their costs so different from experts?

Even if you pay the ransom (which law enforcement ask you NOT to do), you still have the cost of finding out how the hackers got in and fixing it. That’s time and money.

If you don’t pay the ransom, you have the cost of restoring systems or rebuilding systems.  To restore your systems, you need a ransomware proof backup system.

There’s also the cost of lost goodwill when you have to tell your clients and other stakeholders about the breach.

How do you prevent ransomware?

How do you prevent ransomware?

  • Replace antiquated or legacy systems
  • Patch your systems
  • Educate yourself and employees about the latest risks
  • Get a ransomware proof backup

Ransomware is expected to increase as companies and organizations fail to protect and update their IT systems. Make your company a less tempting target by upgrading and patching.