For small businesses in Australia, ransomware is currently one of the most significant security threats – costing Australians millions of dollars.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, known as malware, that encrypts/locks data and files on a computer/server, making them inaccessible. This malicious software is spread by criminal gangs via convincing spam emails (such as fake electricity and water bills) to extort payment from the recipient.
After a scam email has been opened and clicked on, the malware will begin to download and corrupt the computer. Once the malware has been downloaded on the computer, the person will receive a message on their computer screen from the criminal (aka the ransom note), advising them that their files have been locked, and demanding money in return for unlocking the files.
Without backup or disaster recover solutions the victim has no way to save their data, other than to pay the scammer.
In 2015, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) received more than 4,400 reports of ransomware with small businesses and consumers reporting losses of nearly a million dollars as a result.
Sadly, this figure likely represents only a fraction of the total victims of ransomware, as not all victims are willing to report the crime. Cybercriminals usually demand victims pay the ransom in virtual currencies that are difficult for law enforcement to trace, such as Bitcoin.
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
The threat is real. It can happen to anyone. At any time. Is your business information and databases backed up? How long would your business cope without critical information? Do you have a plan in place and a back-up plan in case plan A was to fail?
For more information and to protect your business, please contact us today!
Source: Gold Coast Bulletin, 30 June 2016, http://goo.gl/pyPfQz.