In 2021, there are two words that can send a cold chill down the spine of any Cybersecurity professional and business leader; Phishing and Ransomware.
Research carried out by the Data Analytics and training company CybSafe, identified that 22% of all cyber incidents reported in the first quarter of 2021 were ransomware attacks. According to the figures obtained from the Information Commissioners Office, they are up by 11% compared to 2020.
This increase is significant and must be studied more closely, but let us start at the beginning.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of ‘Malware’ or malicious software that infects your computer or device and blocks you from accessing your systems or files. Generally speaking, the entire system or subset of files will be encrypted. Until you, the victim, pay the ransom, you cannot access the system or the files, which are now under the control of the Cybercriminals. The demand for payment usually comes in a request for payment by bitcoin or some other anonymous form of payment/bank transfer.
Cybercriminals understand not only the technical aspects of the attack but also the psychological angles to play to. They will often state that all files and systems will be deleted or destroyed if the demands are not met within a specific timescale, thereby creating a sense of panic and urgency. They may also state that they will inform your clients of the breach (after all, they have your entire customer base in their hands), thereby adding blackmail to the ransomware demand. In recent years we have also heard of instances where they will threaten to inform the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) of your breach, meaning you run the risk of regulatory and legislative investigations.
Why has it become such a problem?
Ransomware is nothing new. The first known ransomware attack occurred as far back as 1989 and focused on the health care sector. Fast forward to the present, and a report by the security company, Purplesec, there were 68,000 ransomware trojans for mobile devices in 2019. There are several reasons why Ransomware is so prevalent, and it is linked to something that has also been on the increase for many…