Make Payment

Cyber Extortion: Don’t Be a Victim

Monday, July 27, 2020 | BY: GiaBlog

We’ve all seen movies where a couple of thugs in trench coats walk into a store, take a look around and say something like, “Nice place you got here, shame if something were to happen to it.” Many people might think the days of extortion went away with the end of mob-run New York and Chicago, but it’s still alive and well on the internet — in the form of ransomware.

To make things worse, as the world has been buckling down with the COVID-19 pandemic, hackers have been working overtime to take advantage of lax cybersecurity. But before we get into how to protect your company from ransomware threats, let’s see how we got here.

Understanding the Problem

For those unaware, ransomware is a form of computer virus that allows a hacker to enter your system and lock you out of every file and program you use. Then, out of the goodness of their hearts, the hackers give you two options: pay them a set amount of money or lose access to everything forever.

Ransomware has been around for decades (and we’ve written many blogs on the topic) but it has proliferated exponentially in recent years. The main reason for this is because it works. Merely stealing your information and then selling it can make them money, but not nearly as much as ransoming that same information to its rightful owner.

Over the course of just a few months (Q4 of 2019 to Q1 of 2020), Forbes magazine stated that overall attacks rose by 25%. Why such a rise? Well, it could have something to do with payouts also rising by 33% within that same timeframe. With that kind of increase, it’s no wonder why hacking is a growing industry.

Ransomware in the Age of Covid-19

When the pandemic started, many people began working from home. For many of us, working from home presents no problems at all, but for others, it creates a whole list of issues that won’t be resolved until their whole department can be back in the office.

This has especially been the case with IT departments. While it’s true that they can do a lot of their work remotely, sometimes they just need to be in the server room to do their job. And don’t think for a minute that hackers don’t know that.

With so many fractured IT departments out there, businesses have been getting swarmed with attacks. For example, the city of Florence, Alabama was attacked just a few weeks ago and said that paying the $300,000 demand was better than having its citizen’s information exposed and for sale.

Even more recently, Honda was attacked by a cybercriminal that actually ended up shutting down production. Ransomware is getting more dangerous by the day.

The New Frontier

The recent pandemic has taught us that we don’t need as many people in the office or even at the factory as we thought we did. Work can be done via automation or with remote workers and keep the business running. That means that our businesses can become even more efficient than ever before. It also means that if a hacker were to get into your system, the damage can be even more devastating.

With the way businesses are depending more and more on technology, your entire business can grind to a halt from a single bad decision someone took when opening the wrong email.

Lighting Can Strike Twice

Imagine your company has been a victim of a ransomware attack and the crisis passes. Perhaps you paid the hacker or were able to gain access to your system again some other way. Now imagine that life has gone back to normal until one day the unthinkable happens: you get hacked again with a ransomware demand.

Sadly, this is not a one-off situation. In fact, not only can this happen to a single business, but it can happen to multiple parts of an organization. One of the most famous examples of this is when a single school is hacked, then multiple other schools in the same district get hit with the same ransomware, one by one.

The reason this is somewhat common in the tech world is that organizations can have similar (or identical!) safety protocols across the board. It’s a lot less work for a hacker to work this way than to go search out other targets every time they want a hit. However, we all know one of the biggest reasons we’re unprepared is because we all think it can’t happen to us. The harsh reality is that’s what all the businesses who were hit thought too.

What Can You Do?

While it’s true that hackers are getting more sophisticated every day, the majority of their attacks are opportunistic. Hackers take the path of least resistance, so if they can enter your system by Carol in accounting falling for a phishing scam, or if your IT department did not update their protocols after a previous attack, they’ll take that route.

That’s where we come into play. By dealing with a company to work on your behalf, you don’t need to worry every time someone logs into your system. And why should you waste all that time? Any effort you put into protecting your system is effort that could have been spent growing your business. By having us go over your current system and helping you implement a better one, you stand a much better chance when the internet goons come for your data.

Recent Posts

The Shrieks and Chills of Working from Home

This year has been…interesting, to say the least. One minute businesses were running normally. Seemingly overnight, many of us got…

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

VPN Security: Trick or Treat?

If you’ve been on the internet lately, you’ve probably seen pretty aggressive advertising for VPN services. On paper, they seem…

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Password Security: Don’t let your Password Haunt You

October is National Cybersecurity Month and password security is a big part of that! Cybersecurity is so important and appropriate…

Friday, October 16, 2020

Be Cyber Aware: If You Connect It, Protect It

In today's age, we all must be cyber aware. The average American today has access to more than 10 Internet…

Friday, October 9, 2020

Virtual Office Scalability: Is Your Technology Setup Scalable?

If you aren’t thinking about virtual office scalability right now, you should be. Thanks to a microscopic virus, everything changed…

Friday, September 25, 2020

Virtual Office: Can You Gain Mobility?

In our last article, we discussed the security benefits of using a virtual office. In this blog, we’ll cover how…

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Is your Virtual Office Secure?

Many companies have found themselves forcing employees to work from home throughout the pandemic and now as we navigate hybrid…

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

So, you may be wondering why the break-fix model doesn’t work. Grandpa always said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix…

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

IT Professional Job Description – What do they really do?

So, you’re working on drafting an IT professional job description. This series covers the most important factors to consider before you…

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Hidden Costs of Hiring an IT Tech

If your business is at the point where you’re thinking about hiring a fulltime IT tech, congratulations! Having enough consistent…

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Trusted By

Free Consultation 866-442-7723

Partners & Certifications

Skip to content