CSW S1, E3 – Why Am I a Target for Ransomware?

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Fred Cobb – CISO and EVP of Services, InfoSystems

Josh Davis – VP of Marketing, InfoSystems

 

In this episode, Fred and Josh look into ransomware. Ransomware is in the news quite often. You’ll learn of the origins of ransomware and why it is gaining momentum as a way to for criminals to make money attacking businesses.

 

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware. Malware is any type of software created to do something destructive. Whether its target is a server, work station, or entire enterprise network, these attacks can bring businesses to their knees.

 

Types of Malware

There are three types of malware:

  1. Worm – self producing. It can be placed on computer "A" and self generate across a network making its way to computers "B, C, D...".
  2. Virus – a piece of what should be legitimate software or code replaced by nefarious code. The sky is the limit on what a virus can do to a business’ network.
  3. Trojan – like the trojan horse we read about in history books; this comes in as something disguised, unnoticed, or under the radar. It then becomes active, taking over systems and encrypting files to do many bad things on a network.

 

What Makes You More of a Target?

Sometimes attacks are indiscriminate. There are a lot of nefarious attacks floating around out there on the internet. If an employee accidentally clicks on a link in a phishing email, malware can then be downloaded and wreak havoc. There are many ways malware can get into your network without clicking a link. Some ransomware doesn’t need you to click on an email. It can leverage your network vulnerabilities.

Certain industries are targeted more. To a cyber criminal, a patient health record is the most valuable data to sell on the dark web. For this reason, the healthcare industry is more of a target. Industries that need their data back the fastest to remain operational are more likely to pay attackers a ransom - logistics, eCommerce, financial services, manufacturing, etc. This makes them high-priority targets for these kinds of attacks.

 

Who Is Behind These Attacks?

Some of the people behind these attacks are part of organized crime groups looking to make money. Last episode we talked about how easy it is for an average person to purchase a phishing "starter kit" online. This concept is also applies to ransomware. Unfortunately, those with criminal intent, bent on doing something nefarious can easily obtain these kits on the dark web.

Many attackers price their extortion perfectly. About 60% of companies do end up paying a ransom when they fall victim to a ransomware attack. Roughly 70% of those companies actually get their information back. It’s been said, cyber criminals want to establish credibility in relationship to businesses getting their information back. This way, businesses will be willing to pay for their information back. This is a multi-billion dollar business.

 

More Information about Our Cybersecurity Services

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