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The global impact of ransomware is being felt by businesses and organizations who are looking for viable solutions to this ongoing threat to cyber security. Ransomware is an insidious type of malware that basically holds your sensitive data hostage and demands some form of payment, in order to receive your data back. The Wikipedia definition of it is, technically: “Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction.” The problem is that even in instances where the “ransom” has been paid to “malware operators” for the safe return of hijacked data, such data has not been returned (restrictions not eased), and victims are, then, deprived of both money and data. Many IT security experts advocate not paying the ransom, and instead spending those funds on some kind of emergency IT security response.

Ransomware

“Digital Transformation” Required

What we are seeing, then, in the global online marketplace, is the need for a “digital transformation,” as seen with ransomware-fighting strategies implemented by customer experience management firm iSON Technologies in Africa. According to a July 13, 2016, article in 4-Traders, University of Florida scientists say they have developed software that can counteract ransomware. And, many other IT services firms, including CTECH Consulting Group, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, are embracing the digital transformation credo, by stepping-up the global fight against malicious hackers looking for a handout. They include “long-term IT strategies” and individualized business analysis to power IT management solutions for SMEs, LLCs, and larger corporate bodies who want a guarantee that they won’t be pick-pocketed by hacker opportunists.

Stopping the Ransomware Takeover

“Ransomware has taken over the [online] criminal world,” states the narrative of a recent CTECH YouTube video. The video goes on to cite a June 2016 case of ransomware attack involving the University of Calgary, wherein the school paid $20,000 to ransomware operators to unlock their data files. It also cites a Medfield, Massachusetts ransomware case that occurred in February 2016 which infected computers at the town’s city hall for almost a week. But, many more ransomware cases go unreported by businesses. The Internet Crime Complaint Center received 2,500 complaints of ransomware involving $24 million coughed up by quick-to-pay organizations in 2015.

Other quick ransomware facts provided by CTECH Consultants include:

  • Over 500 malware evasion tactics are being used by criminals to bypass detection
  • 97% of malware is unique to specific end-points, rendering signature-based security virtually useless
  • 98% of Microsoft Office-targeted threats use macros
  • 2015 saw a 50% increase in email attacks using macros as the “method of infection”
  • 390,000 malicious programs are registered every day

Action Over Complacency

With all these statistics seemingly stacked against those who use information technology for business, there are bright rays of hope. Getting an IT managed services provider (MSP) such as CTECH for your IT support is the first move you should make in safeguarding your data network. Solid upgrades to your network security protections are also among the first steps to take–your IT security experts guiding you all the way. These include; stronger, more encrypted passwords and permissions; implementation and testing of a sound business continuity solution for your firm that provides multiple levels of backup. Regular testing of your security threat response plan, and training of staff to be responsive is vital to staying secure from ransomware attacks.

Take Action Now

Don’t wait to implement a complete cyber security solution. CTECH Consulting Group is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, tricks, and news. Contact us at (403) 457--1478 or send us an email at info@ctechgroup.net for more information.

Published on 22nd July 2016 by Carl Fransen.

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