Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that encrypts your files or locks your computer and requires payment in order for you to regain access. Once you’ve become infected, there is little you can do except pay the ransom.
WHO’S A TARGET?
If you use a PC or mobile device to access the Internet, you are at risk. While ransomware initially targeted individuals, it has grown in sophistication and has begun going after large organizations with growing ransom demands.
“Ransomware is evolving rapidly and is increasingly targeting companies over consumers. And companies won’t get away with paying consumer rates.” —Jay Chaudhry, CEO, Zscaler
HOW COMMON IS IT?
Because it’s so profitable, there are new strains arriving all the time, and off-the-shelf ransomware kits are readily available for would-be cybercriminals — no hacking skills required.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Ransom demands are carefully priced to make it easier to pay than fight — or risk permanent data loss. Recently, a California hospital was compelled to pay $17,000 in order to regain access to its electronic medical records. But the actual cost was far greater due to the time expended on the problem as well as losses in revenue (the hospital had to turn away patients) and productivity during the five days the records were locked. The ransom demands for businesses are dramatically higher than those of individuals. And so are the risks.
WILL MY ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE PROTECT ME?
Unfortunately, traditional antivirus (AV) is not sufficient. Malware is constantly “morphing” to evade AV protections — and it often does. You need a combination of security measures that block malicious files and “sandbox” suspicious traffic.