Ransomware is a cyberattack that takes control of your data and files until you pay the attacker to get them back. Ransomware can render businesses useless without access to their encrypted files and systems.
There are myths about ransomware that are used as scare tactics to make businesses fall prey to attacks. These myths are dangerous and can cause extreme damage to the businesses that follow their lead.
1. Rare Ransomware
Email attacks like phishing and vishing are commonly known cyberattack methods. Users could view them as the most dangerous or isolated known cyber threat to businesses. Phishing is not the most dangerous form of digital attack. Protecting your emails and security does not mean your business is unsusceptible to ransomware.
Phishing tactics are small fish in a big pond. Password spraying is a technique used to gain credentials from users to mislead them into providing access. There are many other risks to digital encryption that should be considered in defense strategies.
Businesses focusing on email scamming as the primary threat is a dangerous move. Theft of data and then threatening to make the data public is becoming more and more common. Ransomware is becoming less about the hackers getting into the system and more about what they choose to do next.
2. Ransomware is Unpreventable
Although new ransomware is popping up often, there are ways to prevent it from happening to you and your business. Wannacry was the armageddon of the digital landscape impacting computers worldwide from hospitals to government agencies.
Culprits of Wannacry gained around $50,000 from this cyber attack through demands for ransom alone. Individuals and companies could have prevented Wannacry with good cyber hygiene. Use good judgment when scanning emails, backup your files, use licensed software and install updates on your operating systems.
Tablets and smartphones for personal use are just as susceptible to cyberattacks as businesses. You must do everything you can to protect your files if you do not want them stolen.
Top Security Advice
There are IT security guidelines that you should follow to protect your stuff. Use a firewall on your digital devices. Whenever you download a new app or enter information into your device, you open a door that hackers can walk through. Use strong passwords and keep them updated. Use multifactor identification when you can.
Make sure you use anti-malware software and have an anti-virus installed. Back up your data and install updates on your software. Keep an eye on account users and third parties. These guidelines will help you keep your data secure, avoid phishing scams and prevent malware that could lead to ransomware.
3. Macs are Unsusceptible
Windows is the most common prey for ransomware. However, that does not mean that Macs are immune to ransomware. Mac users should still be prepared and watch out for cyber scams. There have been many programs identified that specifically target Mac operating systems. You are not safe from malware because you use a Mac instead of Windows. The attacks are increasing on Mac systems probably because they are more vulnerable since they think they are in the clear. Mac is not more secure than windows and should be just as concerned about potential attacks.
4. Small Companies are Safe
Smaller businesses underestimate the risks of malware. It is a common misconception that companies are smaller in size and are not as prone to cyber-attacks. This is false because the threat to their data is just as immense as it is to a more significant business.
Up to 86% of small to medium-sized businesses have reported being victims of ransomware each year since 2018. The reality is that smaller firms should feel more at risk since the damage from a minor attack could make such a significant impact. Since their data is not vast, an isolated attack could potentially lead to their demise.
5. One Phase Attack
Aggressors look for vulnerable targets during a reconnaissance phase. Once identified, they employ a weaponization phase where they shape the direction of their attack like email scams. It could be months before the plan is executed to demand ransom.
Hackers are also commonly perceived as sophisticated and strategic in their attacks. The fact is that ransomware is pretty random. While they work in phases, the episodes focus more on whoever falls prey to their scams, not individual perpetuated schemes to pinpoint specific individuals or organizations directly. If their scams fail on their target, they have many more targets lined up to take the bait.
Now that you know more about what is true and false regarding ransomware, you can be more prepared for potential threats and attacks. You are not safer because of your operating system, but you can be more protected with the correct information and precautions.