If it seems like reports of ransomware attacks -- malicious software that holds data hostage unless a ransom is paid to the person or organization behind it -- are increasing, Malwarebytes agrees with you. The company released its Second Annual State of Ransomware Report recently. Among the findings is that 22 percent of small business that were hit with ransomware attacks were crippled to the point they had to cease operations immediately.
It's a somewhat staggering figure, but it makes sense once you think about it; large corporations often have the resources to work around (or, let's be real, pay off) these types of attacks. Small businesses, especially ones that rely on day-to-day operations to function, can't cope in the same way. "To make matters worse, most of them lack the confidence in their ability to stop an attack, despite significant investments in defensive technologies," said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes, in the press release. The survey also found that small business owners and operators are less likely to pay a ransomware demand.
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These businesses may be small, but they're a big draw for hackers.
Thanks to WannaCry, ransomware has taken the world by storm, without any discretion on whose computers it holds hostage. It'll lock down hospitals, mailrooms, banks, schools -- if it has a vulnerable computer with outdated software, it'll fall under a hacker's crosshairs.
It's that outdated software part that makes small businesses the most prevalent victims. Your local pizzeria or hair salon doesn't have its own IT department and probably isn't aware of the latest patches for Windows -- or even the latest version of Windows.
"If you're a one-man shop, it's often a nephew or a family member who does that," said Robert Gibbons, the chief technology officer at Datto, a cybersecurity company. "Small businesses suffer because they don't have the skill nor the infrastructure to manage this."
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Healthcare ransomware is one of the biggest cybersecurity concerns in existence and it may have particularly serious implications for healthcare systems.
Ransomware is a form of malicious software code that is somehow installed on a computer or provided access to vulnerable system network where the data on the computer or in the network is either encrypted or locked by the ransomware so that it cannot be accessed by authorized users.
Effectively, a victim’s data is held hostage by the ransomware and cannot gain access to the locked or encrypted data until the victim pays a ransom. Ransoms are generally fairly low, which entices victims to simply pay the ransom to get access to their data again.
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The Law Society of Saskatchewan says it has recovered after a ransomware attack in April.
The organization's computer system was infected by a ransomware attack that encrypted its files, corrupted its operating system and rendered its IT environment inoperable around April 3.
The April attack was not connected to the current WannaCry ransomware outbreak which has affected 150 countries.
As a result, the Law Society said it had to completely rebuild its IT environment with increased security after the cyberattack. ensure they aren't vulnerable to a second, more powerful version of the malicious software, dubbed "WannaCry."
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A hospital in Oshawa is among the tens of thousands of victims of an unprecedented "ransomware" cyberattack that's hit 150 countries in recent days. Lakeridge Health — one of Ontario's largest community hospitals — said it appeared the ransomware threatened its computer system, but a spokesman said the facility's system was able to deflect the attack.
"Our antivirus software contained the attack and so while we've had to reset some of our systems we weren't affected in the same way that other places were," said Lloyd Rang. "Patient care wasn't affected and neither were any medical records or health records breached in any way."
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