Have you heard the joke about the cybercriminals who escaped the scene of the crime? They ransomware.
It’s a topic that has dominated headlines with high-profile attacks demonstrating how cybercrime has evolved in recent years. Ransomware attacks encrypt the information on computers and servers, eliminating an organizations’ ability to access its systems. These attacks are increasing in sophistication and frequency at an alarming rate.
Cybercriminals and state actors with access to sophisticated, quickly evolving technology have become more capable of and interested in targeting organizations of all sizes. Firewall and antivirus protection are no longer enough to evade an attack, leaving organizations that don’t have robust security teams vulnerable to an incident.
The Cost of No Protection
Organizations might assume that a cyber breach will cost less than adding more cybersecurity protection but that is not the case. While there is no single solution to the growing threat of ransomware, growing organizations cannot afford to exhaust all resources and funds on multiple, single-point cybersecurity solutions. Meanwhile, most do not have security teams to manage a stack of solutions, so often, they might only have 2-3 layers of protection, which is not close to enough protection to stay protected from these advanced attacks.
Unfortunately, the cost of trying to prevent ransomware attacks is far outweighed by the cost of a potential attack and goes beyond just paying the ransom. In fact, the average cost of a ransomware attack is $4.62 million per incident, which would be financially crippling to any organization. In addition to the ransom itself, the cost of a ransomware attack can include downtime to daily business, loss of intellectual property, and data theft.
Risk of the Ransom Payout
Still, paying the ransom to criminals isn’t as simple as it may sound since it is against U.S. law to pay terrorists, and paying it doesn’t guarantee the criminal will completely restore that data. Often, decryption keys don’t work or are tremendously slow, increasing downtime. Other options like rebuilding the network can also be devastating to a business from a time perspective, especially if backups are compromised.
Organizations without a comprehensive cybersecurity program to prevent ransomware attacks face increased risk in a few areas. If they experience a cyber incident, they will need to report it to others – for example, customers concerned about how they are affected or governments depending on specific state reporting laws. There may also be compliance fines (HIPAA is one example of health information) depending on the industry. No matter the industry or location of an organization, you may lose business during the downtime caused by a ransomware attack as customers will need to continue their operations and could be forced to take their business elsewhere.
Comprehensive Approach Leads to Prevention
Because there is no one solution to ransomware, a comprehensive approach that combines proactive and reactive strategies is crucial to help evade a potential attack. There is no 100% perfect security, but with the right cybersecurity program in place, an organization can mitigate the impact and be prepared to get their business back up and running quicker.
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