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From The TCS Blog

Facts About Ransomware: In the Know

By: Jessica Clifford

Data Encryption with Shield Icon on Red Button on Black Computer Keyboard.-1.jpeg

Ransomware has encrypted your computer at work. You know your company is going to pay the ransom to decrypt your files because they do not back up your data. However, now you are questioning whether the hacker can come back and infect your computer again.

Double ransom is a common point of interest for many who have fallen victim to a Ransomware scam. The company might feel safe after they were hacked once, believing the hacker cannot come back and ransom them twice. However, that is idealistic thinking, the correct answer is yes, cyber extortion can happen again. Next time, a similar or different type of Ransomware may infect your computer.

Besides the issue of double extortion, you might want to learn more about this type of malware that is rising in popularity. Here are a the top facts about Ransomware you should know.

How Does Cyber Extortion Occur Twice?

Ransomware can happen to anyone, even if a computer contains an anti-virus program. If your computer is infected and encrypted with Ransomware, there are only two ways to solve this issue. First, if your company uses a backup and disaster recovery program, they can restore data from backup. By restoring files, the company does not have to pay for lost data. They just need to get rid of the malware. The second option, which most businesses choose if they do not store backups, is payment for the code to decrypt their information. Both of these solutions are time-consuming and painful for business continuity.

Once your company solves the issue, you have to be on the lookout, because unlike the Chicken Pox Virus, a hacker can come back and infect your computer with the Ransomware virus twice. However, hackers are prone to double ransom businesses that paid the ransom during the first installation or companies that did not remove the malware. Unprotected businesses that do not back up their data should start backing up on a regular basis to prevent this hassle.

Should My Company Pay the Ransom or Not?

Now that you know double ransom is possible, the next important question is should you pay Ransomware? The answer depends on your company and what they think is the best option while considering three things:

              1)    Do we have backups of our data?

              2)    Will this take a long time?

              3)    How much effort will we need to complete the task?

In 2016, a hacker ransomed a Hollywood hospital, forcing them to pay thousands of dollars in bitcoin to retrieve their data. Though the Hollywood hospital had backups, they paid the ransom because the amount of time and effort they would have needed to restore their data from backups would have caused a longer period of downtime then paying the ransom. However, the hospital might not have had to pay the ransom if they were backing up more frequently and could restore quickly. The amount of data loss was too substantial to recover from; therefore, their only option was to pay the ransom.

The Hollywood hospital is just one example in which small businesses have to make the difficult choice between paying the ransom or restoring data through backup and recovery. Companies that do not back up their information do not have a choice. Instead, they have to pay the hacker or lose everything including essential client lists, tax statements, and employee information. Backing up data is the most important way to combat Ransomware scams. Every company should add this to their IT security procedure.

Other Top Facts About Ransomware

These are other crucial, yet miscellaneous facts about Ransomware:

  1. Ransomware comes from visiting suspicious sites, opening malicious emails, and clicking bad links.
  2. The hacker does not own your information; they use a file-scrambler to make it impossible to open without a code to unlock the Ransomware. Therefore, they cannot distribute your information.
  3. Ransomware comes in different forms. The first kind locks your screen and starts a countdown to pay the ransom. The second kind encrypts your files while allowing you to access your other applications.
  4. Ransomware, like all other forms of malware, can infect your mobile devices too. Just remember, every device is up for grabs when you enter malicious territory.

With Ransomware’s popularity on the rise, it is in your company’s best interest to learn all you can about malware. Hopefully, these facts give you more understanding about malware, but if you need more information about preventative measures, TCS can help by discussing options with you. New Call-to-action