News & Views

The State of Ransomware in 2017 and Beyond

by John Lane - Aug 2, 2017

No matter what source you check, everyone agrees that ransomware attacks and security breaches are on the rise.

If recent events in the world of cybercrime are anything to go by, hackers all over the globe are waking up to the true value of company information. The shifts happening in the virtual world today are opening up new doors for more ransomware attacks on practically every device. Businesses need to be on their toes if they hope to be safe from criminals.

How Ransomware Works

Enterprises today depend on technological assets for practically every business function, and not all of them are as safe as they should be. Hackers take advantage of everything from legacy systems to employee behaviour patterns to worm their way into any network system. Clicking on one infected link can result in the entire company’s data being encrypted by hackers, making it inaccessible to employees. From there, hackers will generally ask for a fee in exchange for decrypting the data. Criminals set ransom fees deliberately, so companies and individuals are likely to pay to put the whole incident behind them.

The Exploding Cloud

There are few things more palatable to businesses than the cloud: it’s less expensive than maintaining servers, it’s more efficient, and it’s scalable. However, the cloud is vulnerable to a number of hacking techniques, so security strategies need to be re-evaluated to target the new gaps in a network. On the one hand, companies need to make their proprietary programs open enough so customers can easily use their software. But an open network also gives hackers plenty of ways to disguise themselves as a legitimate user when they’re actually trying to infiltrate a network.

Evolving Techniques

The success rate of ransomware attacks relies on innovation. Hackers may try everything from leaving a random infected USB stick in the middle of a busy office to disguising emails. When these techniques stop working, they’ll create new ones. Hackers are also looking at how they can exploit changes in the way we access our content. From city-wide WiFi to new data centres popping up across the country, companies need to rethink how they’re protecting their information.

Mobile Matters

No matter what source you check, everyone agrees that ransomware attacks and security breaches are on the rise. More than 218,000 files were detected on mobile phones in early 2017, which is a huge jump from the 62,000 or so found on phones in early 2016. Not only can hackers gain access to personal data, they can gain administrator access and install their own module. This type of backdoor trap is common, and one that can haunt a company long after the initial penetration.

Action Steps

Companies have to be willing to go above and beyond when it comes to network security. Better employee education is the first line of defense, and one that should be implemented as soon as possible. However, you may also need different products and professional advice than you currently have. To find out more, take our complimentary, commitment-free IT review.  

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TAGS: it strategy