Ransomware might sound like a new line of outdoor adventure apparel, but the reality is much worse than anything that even the worst fashion victim will experience.
In brief, ransomware is a potential breach of all your data, or worse – delivered by extortion. It manifests as a virus that encrypts or otherwise blocks all access to your systems and may even block your view of the screen by displaying, ummm… let’s say inappropriate content until you do the kidnappers bidding. The most common ask of these hacks is financial, though demands for other items of value, such as trade secrets, strategies, and databases are also on the rise.
The ransomware trend has moved well beyond the fad stage and is not going away anytime soon. Just one of hundreds of ransomware tools net over $18 million from less than 1000 known firms between April, 2014 and June, 2015. We say ‘known firms’ because the FBI estimates that less than 30% of victims of ransomware ever report the data security faux pas.
These infections are the height of hackware - VERY hard to stop once the infection occurs. So good, that in October, the FBI recommended that firms without viable back-ups should “just pay the ransom” if they want their data back. Most of the hackers are true to their word - it would be bad for business to do otherwise, after all. The success of these hacks over the past few years has created a proven path to easy money for honest thieves everywhere.
Fortunately, you have more options than just waiting for embarrassing content to pop up on your screen before you attempt to cover up with the checkbook.
In short, follow all the normal and practical guidelines. Fun and adventure is much more enjoyable when you don’t have the barrel of a malicious mouse pointing at your pocketbook.
And don’t fret about the fashion: For data security, basic black is always in style.