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  • Writer's pictureAline Silva | PhishX

Ransomware: a threat to you and your device

Ransomware attacks are increasingly complex and growing day after day around the world, putting people's data, but especially the confidential information of organizations, at risk.

These malicious programs use evolved techniques to steal data, information, profits and use them negatively, to extort people and companies.

Know that Brazil suffered about 1,600 ransomware attacks in the first half of 2023. The data is from a survey by Check Point Software and reveals a great concern for everyone.

After all, these attacks are harmful to people, but companies end up being the big targets of cybercriminals, who see a way to extort these organizations.

Therefore, ransomware is a reality in everyone's life, so it is very important that people know how to defend themselves from these attacks to avoid financial losses.

What is ransomware?

Before we explain about the dangers of ransomware, it's important that you understand what this attack is all about.

Ransomware is part of the malware family, which encompasses all malicious software that poses a danger to your computer.

In this way, ransomware is extortion software capable of locking your computer, cybercriminals use these attacks to demand ransom for victims in exchange for unlocking them.

These attacks happen in the following way, the malware gains access to your device, depending on the type of ransomware it manages to attack your entire operating system.

Once the file is executed, it can track all the documents that are accessible such as spreadsheets, images, reports, and data.

All of this information is encrypted, and in some cases, the attack can expand to other machines, intensifying its impact.

Once this is done, the ransomware begins the preventive action, with this it locks the system, which can be partially or in a group of files.

In this way, the information remains there, but due to the blocking, people cannot access it, in addition, criminals usually send alerts that if the payment is not made, all files will be deleted.

Once this is done, the criminals contact the victim and demand a sum of money for their device to be released. People who are desperate and afraid that their data will be blocked or used for malicious purposes, end up paying the amounts.

The Growth of Ransomware Cases

Ransomware cases are growing exponentially worldwide, according to a report from Malwarebytes' Threat Intelligence team. The U.S. alone has had about 43% of all global attacks, and in France, ransomware has nearly doubled in the last five months.

Here in Brazil, this number is not so different, cybercriminals have been successful in encrypting data in 73% of attacks against organizations.

This is the highest rate ever recorded since Sophos began conducting the annual The State of Ransomware study in 2020. This growth worries information security leaders around the world.

After all, these attacks generate enormous losses for institutions. According to that same report, companies had to pay the ransom to decrypt their data, and these amounts doubled the costs and resources allocated to information security.

In some cases, companies have to shell out about $750,000 to get their data back. In addition to all the inconveniences related to money, companies still suffer from the delay in getting their information back.

The time between ransomware attacks and the return of information can take around a week, and in some cases up to six months. This worries the entire Information Technology team and its leaders.

It is worth emphasizing that in many cases the companies that suffered these attacks were unable to recover all the files by disbursing the requested amount, because they need to rebuild and recover the backups.

In addition, ransomware payments are a major problem for digital society, as they manage to enrich criminals and delay responses to incidents, which increases the costs of this situation.

The sophistication of the attacks

Importantly, just as technology advances, cyberattacks follow the same course, making their crimes increasingly sophisticated.

This information becomes clear if we look at the cybersecurity report developed by Check Point Research (CPR).

The data indicates that the increase in ransomware attacks is due to the combination of AI technologies with USB devices, combined with new technological advances with tools that are already known to all of us.

Many of these attacks could be prevented by raising cybersecurity awareness, because in many cases, people don't even know what malware or ransomware is.

Therefore, it is essential that companies understand this problem and invest in awareness actions, so people will be able to identify attacks and mitigate risks.

The report shows that the main attacks happen through USB devices, where criminals deploy these drives as vectors to infect organizations.

In this way, when employees use these infected devices, they open the doors of organizations for criminals to commit their attacks.

In addition, ransomware groups exploit vulnerabilities in corporate software used by every company and change their approach to data encryption. With this, they manage to steal all the data and information.

Another form of attack, happens through Artificial Intelligence, this technology is used to create phishing emails, monitoring malware activated through keystrokes and basic codes.

Which reinforces that we must be attentive at all times to everything we receive, and especially which devices we connect to our computers.

Therefore, it is essential for organizations to build a cyber strategy and create security policies, this helps to strengthen their defenses by adopting an integrated approach and having cybersecurity prevention as a priority.

Risks of ransomware to businesses

When a company suffers an attack, there are several impacts that affect its reputation, causing financial losses and its operation.

That's why it's important for organizations to invest in cybersecurity actions to prevent these risks from happening.

Economic losses

When we talk about cyberattacks, the financial losses are the most evident, even more so when it comes to ransomware attacks, where criminals demand a cash reward for the return of data.

Usually, victims give in to the blackmail of criminals and pay the requested amount, this happens because few Information Technology professionals have access to tools to decrypt this information.

After all, even when these tools exist, they can't cover all varieties of attacks.

No financial sector is prepared to disburse such a significant amount, which causes enormous economic damage, and which takes time for the organization to recover.

Loss of information

If your organization does not have a backup system and an efficient risk management process, the chances of the ransomware attack causing irreversible damage are very high.

This happens because the program is able to delete important data and information, which are fundamental for the operation of the company and the management of employees and customers.

Interruption of the company's activities

Ransomware attacks are very powerful and have a relevant force of destruction. In this way, the company is unable to carry out its tasks for a long period, until everything is resolved.

As a result, data and information crucial to operation are inaccessible and employees lose productivity and performance.

Damage to the image

Maintaining the reputation of your business is essential, after all, it is from a good image that you can reach new customers and growth opportunities.

By suffering these attacks, you can lose credibility in the market, and arouse doubts in your customers, after all, no one wants to relate to a company that cannot keep their data safe.

Another problem that organizations can suffer is the end of business partnerships, in many cases companies can respond to lawsuits.

Unfortunately, it's impossible to predict when these attacks will happen, but good prevention helps prevent these situations from happening and keeps your organization safer.

How can PhishX help your business?

Ransomware attacks are a risk for all companies and the damage they cause is enormous, as mentioned the amount disbursed in these attacks exceeds the amounts intended for prevention.

Therefore, it is essential that institutions understand the risks and create actions to mitigate them.

After all, these attacks are directed at people, it is through them that criminals gain access to an organization's information.

Therefore, people need to be prepared and informed to deal with these cyber threats.

In this context, Phishx develops customized training and awareness programs in information security.

We are an ecosystem and our goal is to prepare people so that they can protect themselves from the risks related to cyberattacks.

With our tools, it is possible to assess risks, develop customized training, as well as tests and simulations, with the power to make employees aware of risks and how to protect themselves from them.

PhishX assists organizations in developing security policies and procedures, this makes them more prepared to solve the problems faced by ransomware attacks.

It is important to remember that cyberattacks are inevitable, but they are possible to be prevented through awareness measures and appropriate security technology.

Get to know our ecosystem and see how PhishX can help your company prevent ransomware attacks.

Warning message on the computer screen. Woman working with a laptop.
Ransomware can steal your data and information.

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