A ransomware is malicious crptovirology software mainly designed to attack a computer thus inhibiting its functioning and the user’s access to it. Research over the years has shown that ransomware is mainly targeted on to individual computers and in very slim cases can it block access of individual and market computers. While simple ransomware attacks can easily be reversed by a computer guru, more advanced crypto viral ransomwares can only be decrypted when a large sum of money is paid. A ransom cryptolocker, unlike the policy virus, attacks user’s documents forcing the victims to pay money or a ransom within a certain time frame. Hence the importance for a good Computer Backup in case such terrible incidents.
There are some common signs and symptoms that a user should look out for so as to gauge Ransomware attack. A splash screen block access after starting up your computer device is a major sign that any ransomware victim would notice. In such a case, the lock screen victim, who is the user, will be blocked from accessing any files and instructions will be provided on how to decrypt the software. Crypted extensions, error messages and inability to open files will also be experienced causing a computer to display odd or missing files with blank icons.`
Ransomware affects a business in so many ways especially those in the service industry as they handle large volumes of data daily and an antivirus does not guarantee a computer’s security from ransomware. Some of the effects of ransomware on a business include the following.
Inaccessibility of files
When files or applications are downloaded from the internet, ransomware files are also picked, encrypting the business files and rendering them inaccessible thus affecting any interactions with clients and damaging the reputation of the business.
Proprietary data in businesses is also lost as a result of overriding ransomwares that lead to unintended disclosure of business information, and misdirected information being relayed to the wrong people. Breached data sent to clients reduces their confidence in the business therefore affecting their prejudgments on the business.
Replacement of compromised devices
In malware cases, a business will be forced to replace any compromised computer device which can be very costly and can cause a business to lose its returns.
Fines from the government
A business can also be legally penalized by being forced to pay fines due to poor security in the business causing it to lose almost all of its marginal profits. As ransomware attacks continue to escalate, the government raises the percentage of fines charged to affected businesses therefore leading to losses. When data is held hostage by the attackers, all business operations, transactions and interactions will be forced to come to a standstill. At this stage, the victim is only left with two options; to either restore the infected data from a good back up or to pay the ransom in exchange for a decryption key.
System downtime experienced after payment of the ransom causes a business to struggle to survive in the harsh business environment as a result of financial drainage and loss of revenue. This becomes very dangerous to a business especially when trying to gauge its stand in the few years to come.
It is therefore important for businesses and individuals to come up with security measures that will help in ransomware prevention. The best way to prepare for this is ensuring that you always have an appropriate backup in your device and a disaster recovery plan that will ensure that all your files are retrieved in case of such an event.