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What is Ransomware and How Will it Kill Your Business?

The Headlines, Disaster Recovery as a Service, Disaster Recovery, Ransomware, Cyber Security, Cyber Attack

Ransomware concept image with illustration of a businessman's hand holding money out to pay for the key from a hacker to unlock a folder

When you think of a disaster you probably picture fires and floods, but in today's digital age, your business may be more likely to encounter the growing threat of ransomware than a devastating natural disaster.

In 2018, ransomware "was found in 39% of malware-related data breaches—double compared to last year, making it the top variety of malicious software," TechRepublic shared from Verizon's annual Data Breach Investigations Report.

But what exactly is ransomware, and how could it exploit your business? In this blog, we define ransomware, how it can harm your business, and how you can effectively render ransomware powerless.Ransomware attack with image showing a caution sign and the words "Your Files Are Encrypted" and an explanation that a key is needed on the screen

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malware that infects a computer and restricts access to data by encrypting files. Once the access is blocked, the user is prompted to pay the attacker in order to restore access to their files, effectively holding the business' data or applications ransom. Payment is typically demanded via a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

In 2017, major ransomware attacks included WannaCry, which "affected computers in at least 150 countries and has caused a potential loss in millions if not billions," and NotPetya, which affected at least 65 countries with monetary losses estimated "to be around $200-$300 million."

In 2018, the city of Atlanta was "brought to its knees" by "one of the most sustained and consequential cyberattacks ever mounted against a major American city." Behind it was a prevalent ransomware attack group known as SamSam, known for selecting victims most likely to give in to high ransom demands and finding and holding that victim's most important data hostage until the payment is made.

In the past year SamSam has targeted "hospitals, police departments and universities — targets with money but without the luxury of going off-line for days or weeks for restoration work," thus making the ransom payment a tempting solution for victims, though it is not ideal. Paying up could mean the attackers double-back to target your business again and encourages future attacks.Man frustrated, confused, and holding head in despair because of WannaCry ransomware attack displayed on his desktop screens

How Could Ransomware Impact Your Business?

Any business can be targeted by ransomware, and while you might hope to be lucky and avoid it, the growing threat of ransomware means it's best not to wonder if it might happen, but to prepare for when it will happen.

Ransomware cuts straight to the lifeblood of your business, holding your important information and applications hostage so your business can't function. With 96% of malware attacks coming through email, even one simple click on a malicious link by an unaware employee could spell disaster.

On top of losing access to critical data, the negative impacts of ransomware can include hours, days, or even weeks of downtime. This means stunted operations and a potentially devastating hit to your bottom line. In addition, your brand reputation may be tarnished as customers and partners lose trust in your business.

Ransomware can kill your business, but making the decision between losing your business in the midst of an attack and paying a costly ransom should never be a decision you have to make. That's because ransomware can't succeed if you have the right disaster recovery solution in place.A button glowing blue that reads "DISASTER RECOVERY" and "START"

How to Stop Ransomware Dead in Its Tracks

LightBound's Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can help you recover from a ransomware attack in minutes. DRaaS is the hosting and replication of your servers by a third-party service provider to enable failover in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe.

Disaster Recovery as a Service is ransomware's kryptonite and its benefits are numerous:

  • Provides failover in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe
  • Rewinds the systems to the last point in time before the infection struck, to within a matter of seconds
  • Recovers all the critical systems in minutes with only a few clicks
  • Not only restores entire applications and databases with consistency but restores individual files as well
  • Performs non-disruptive failover tests at any time, to be sure the business can be brought back online straight away when needed
  • Creates off-site data copies for longer-term data retention in addition to giving the business a Continuous Data Protection for up to 14 days

With DRaaS your info is replicated so no one can hold your data for ransom—you can easily push a button and get your data back!

Want to learn more about disaster recovery solutions to find the best one for your business? Download our FREE Disaster Recovery Guide today!

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May 23, 2018 / by Dane Dittemore