The new home work culture is gaining momentum than ever as companies, government departments and schools try to stay afloat while smoothing the curve of the pandemic. This migration to remote work is a double-edged sword that creates fertile ground for cybercriminals to grow. There is no way that cyber attacks can be completely eliminated. The best business can do is reduce the frequency of threats.
What is ransomware?
Cyber criminals use malicious code to prevent individuals or organizations from accessing their computer systems until the ransom is paid. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) made it easy for these popular agents to receive payments anonymously.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Anti-Cyber Crime, in collaboration with the UK’s National Cyber Security Center, has already issued warnings of an increase in phishing, which can lead to malware being installed on computer systems. The combined warning was issued as the number of cyber attacks against remote workers increased.
Hackers target individuals and all types of organizations. In June, the University of California, San Francisco, spent $ 1.14 million on Bitcoin after being attacked by ransomware. In May, hackers attacked renowned lawyers Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks. Criminals have threatened to divulge a terabyte of celebrity data unless a ransom is paid in bitcoin. In addition, Johannesburg, the financial capital of South Africa, was attacked by a Bitcoin ransom in October 2019.
Cryptocurrencies have become popular with cyber criminals because of their anonymity. Hackers receive the ransom payment in data protection coins or major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The digital assets are then cleaned up by routing them through mixed services.
Businesses and employees should invest in cybersecurity
As companies allow their employees to work from home, they need to be aware that their data and secrets are at risk. While remote workers are the target, it is companies that suffer at the end of the day. It goes without saying that prevention is better than cure. Organizations need to invest in teaching their employees how to protect their computers or systems.
According to cybersecurity firm Sophos, around 73% of ransomware attacks encrypt data. For a ransomware attack to be successful, it goes through three phases:
There are a number of ways ransomware can be launched. This can be a simple phishing email message, or hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in network systems. Firewalls should be used to block ransomware. Some companies may think that a firewall is expensive to implement, but the cost of cleaning is much higher.
Employees must use strong passwords, which are a mixture of all types of characters found on a standard computer keyboard. Passwords also need to be changed frequently. There are free tools you can use to create strong, hard-to-crack passwords.
Should Companies Pay Ransom Notes?
This is a tough question as it usually depends on what the company must lose if the ransom is not paid. Hackers usually target a company when they learn it has valuable data. In most cases, if his or her customers’ data is leaked online or sold to the highest bidder on the internet, this can affect a company’s operations and reputation. Notorious actors recently sold 160 million stolen user records from 11 companies online for a total of just over $ 23,000.
The answer to this question is unclear, but the logic suggests paying the ransom. Cryptocurrencies are used to facilitate these transactions.