Ransomware is big business for cyber criminals. It is estimated ransomware costs will reach $20 billion by 2021 (Cybersecurity Ventures). One of the most noteworthy ransomware attacks came in 2017, when the NotPetya attack cost FedEx $300 million. With companies paying an average of $1.2 million per incident (Kaspersky), network and data security is becoming a top priority in many organizations.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, usually disguised as a legitimate email attachment. Once a user opens or downloads the file, information on their hard drive is encrypted and inaccessible until they or their organization pay the ‘ransom’ to free the data. Hackers use ransomware to hold governments, financial institutions and other businesses hostage.
In addition to the financial cost of a ransomware attack, it can cost a business valuable time and resources to regain and recover their data if they don’t pay the ransom. A report from Datto states that downtime costs from ransomware attacks are up 200%, and Kaspersky found that 34% of businesses take a week or more to regain access to their information. This downtime can wreak havoc on organizational processes and make business operations impossible. It is therefore critical that today’s IT security professionals stay up to date on security best practices and mitigation procedures.
Like most data security issues, prevention is better than a cure. Organizations that invest in skilled IT security workers, implement regular data back-up processes, and keep their security software updated are more prepared to defend themselves against cyber criminals. Another crucial element to cybersecurity success is keeping employees informed of issues as they arise, such as new phishing or known malware scams. It is also a good idea to provide a set of network and data security best practices for employees to follow while in the office, as well as procedures for securely working from home or any remote location.
The best way to prevent a ransomware attack is through a comprehensive network security program that includes prevention, mitigation, and recovery procedures. Learn how to protect your personal and organizational data from ransomware with a cybersecurity certificate course from New Horizons.
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