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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Staying Safe from Ransomware Attacks in 2020

By JACK WARNER - In the event of an attack, many businesses are faced with the dilemma; to pay the ransom or not to pay?

Fuelled by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, cybercrime has soared to previously undiscovered heights in 2020. We’ve seen an explosion of ransomware attacks, in particular, targeting all types of organizations. Gaming companies have not been spared. One of the most recent victims of a ransomware attack is Japanese game maker Capcom. The company was hit by the Ragnar Locker ransomware in early November, forcing the game maker to shut down its network.

Data Compromised During the Capcom Attack


In an earlier statement, the company had said that there was no indication that customer information was compromised. However, it turns out that some personal and corporate information was indeed stolen during the November 2 incident. In an update, the game maker behind franchises such as Street Fighter and Resident Evil revealed that hackers might have stolen information belonging to as many as 350,000 customers.

The potentially compromised data includes names and addresses, contact information, photos, shareholder numbers, birthdays, and more. However, customers can rest assured that their credit card information is safe. According to Capcom officials, no customer financial data such as credit card information was stolen. The company does not maintain any such information internally as a third-party service provider handles all online transactions.


How Ransomware Works


Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your system, steals your data, and demands a ransom to be paid. Businesses have become a popular target for ransomware attacks in recent years. What happens in a ransomware attack? Once it finds a way into your network, data-stealing ransomware such as Ragnar Locker will exfiltrate data before encrypting your network and eventually threaten to publish the stolen data if you don’t pay the ransom. In cases like Capcom's, the attackers acted on their threat.

Image from Pixabay.com


To Pay or Not to Pay?


In the face of increasing ransomware attacks, many businesses are left grappling with the question of whether to pay or not to pay the ransom. Well, this is a very difficult question for which there are no clear-cut answers. There are certain benefits to paying the ransom. For instance, you will receive the decryption key from the attackers. That way, you can ensure minimal loss of productivity and revenue due to downtime.

On the flip side, paying the ransom only serves to encourage the attackers. In some cases, the decryption key does not even work. But even if you pay the ransom and get a working decryptor, you will still find yourself being the target of repeated attacks since hackers already know your system is susceptible. Paying the ransom would go against conventional wisdom.


How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks


Nearly 200 million ransomware attacks have been reported in Q3 of 2020. The massive surge in ransomware attacks is attributable to new cybersecurity challenges brought about by Covid-19 fears. So, what can organizations do to prevent ransomware attacks? Well, the most important thing you can do is ensure that ransomware doesn’t find a way into your network. You need to understand that ransomware doesn’t just appear on a computer.

Attackers use clever methods to sneak ransomware into your network. They may use phishing emails to initiate a ransomware attack. Hackers are very skilled at luring people into clicking on links or downloading files that contain malware. Your employees are the first line of defence against online threats. Therefore, organizations need to ensure that their employees are well versed in ways to detect ransomware attacks and what to do in the event of an attack.



Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on topics such as whistleblowing and cybersecurity tools.


Jack Warner previously warned about cybercrimes targeting the eSports industry, too.
Not mentioned in how to stay safe? Make sure the IT Department has actually implemented their security measures. That's what got Capcom.

8 comments :

  1. google chrome says i have 66 compromised passwords :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh, that's a Google Chrome feature?

      Delete
    2. H-How...does Chrome know...?

      (Unless Google is the one doing the compromising.)

      Delete
    3. I mean, Google isn't trustworthy.

      (Note this whole site is ran off Google technology.)

      Delete
  2. My mother-in-law's workplace, a dentist's office, got attacked by ransomware. I am not sure why hackers need to know how many cavities and root canals everyone got but it happened. I believe at the end they paid the ransomware.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dentists get to know a lot of your general medical record, too!

      Delete

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