Ransomware Running Amok

Posted on 09/10/2019

Ransomware has crippled the workflows of municipalities across America in 2019, with major cities such as Baltimore, Atlanta, and Albany, New York among the victims of these cyberattacks. However, things have really heated up this summer, as more than 20 towns in one state alone had their computer systems taken hostage in August. Authorities believe a single source is responsible for a coordinated ransomware attack that targeted 22 local governments in the state of Texas, demanding they pay ransoms of hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore access to their computer systems.

Unfortunately, ransomware is not limited to government entities as targets. In fact, small businesses face a much bigger threat, as they are the primary targets of these attacks. According to a report by Beazley Breach Response Services, 71 percent of ransomware attacks in 2018 targeted small businesses, with an average ransom demand of $116,000. If ransomware can circumvent the cyberdefenses of a state capital such as Albany and incapacitate their digital operations, most small- and medium-sized businesses are ill-equipped to defend themselves from these threats.

Ransomware can be combatted, but it takes diligence on the part of an organization. First, employees should be educated about the threat of ransomware and how to detect and avoid falling victim to phishing emails. Second, IT security measures—such as internal firewalls, two-factor authentication, and regular software updates—should be employed to help mitigate risks. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, regularly backup your data. If hackers do get past your defenses and encrypt your data, having a copy of your data will minimize the damage done and prevent you from having to pay the ransom to regain access to your files.

KDI can help. Contact us today!

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