Ransomware Attackers Keep Exposing Stolen Business Data

Security researchers at McAfee found that ransomware attacks doubled in 2019. Although they are not the most common type of cyber-attacks, this growing trend reveals how dangerous they are. An average incident cost victims $713,000, so ransomware is lucrative for fraudsters. That’s why hackers are doubling down on it in 2020. It doesn’t matter whether you use Windows or Mac, iOS or Android, or any other platform. Ransomware is here and, before you know it, it may be coming for you.

Why Ransomware is Especially Scary

The internet can be a dangerous place; it’s full of threats on every corner. You can always download spyware that monitors your keystrokes. Social engineering attacks trick thousands of people into revealing their bank accounts or passwords.

Ransomware stands apart because it’s a multi-layered and sophisticated attack. Cyber-criminals may lure victims with fake emails that resemble real corporate or government web pages. Then they use malware to lock critical files and apps. Finally, they extort money through threatening to delete these files or expose them to the public.

Unlike other types of cyber-crime, they’re usually targeted too. Most hacks involve sending out thousands or even millions of emails. But many ransomware attacks are directly aimed at particular individuals, companies, and governments.

Small to medium businesses are especially at risk. Although you can often hear new stories of ransomware attacks on municipalities, they have the resources to deal with an incident. With the help of cyber-insurance and IT departments, they can recover without permanent damage.

But a ransomware attack on a business can prove fatal. Over 70% of all ransomware attacks target small businesses, and 60% of companies fail after ransomware or other targeted cyber-attack. Considering the high frequency of incidents and vulnerability to attacks, it’s a matter of when and not if this could happen to your business.

What Do Hackers Want? And What Do They Target?

Money. In rare cases, they may conduct an attack to send a message. But the latter is usually the case against large corporations or governments. Hackers know a small business would rather pay then struggle with a situation for a long time.

Ransomware attackers target all types of data. If it has any value to your business or you, then they’ll go for it. It could be sensitive records of your employees or customers. Or they might be after proprietary apps and data or core system files needed for your servers and devices to operate.

The goal is to create enough disruption that you’d be willing to pay the ransomware as soon as possible. Then hackers promise to return access. Of course, often, they don’t give the access back. Instead, they may even launch two-stage attacks. The first phase is convincing you to pay the ransom. The second involves leveraging your data for either more money or other purposes.

Ransomware Can Affect Any Operating System

All operating systems are vulnerable to ransomware. Although most incidents occur to Windows PCs, Mac ransomware attacks can and do happen. In the cloud-centric era, the problem expands far beyond individual physical devices.

 

Cyber criminals can target files in the cloud, data-in-transit, physical drives, and servers. It’s no exaggeration that no matter what platform you use or where you store your data, you’re vulnerable.

Protect Your mac-OS Data: Fight Fire With Fire

During ransomware attacks, fraudsters encrypt sensitive data, files, and apps blocking user access. The only way to get these files back is by having the key which hackers only release after you pay the ransom.

 

You can use encryption software for Mac to block unauthorized access to your data before cyber-criminals can ever get their hands on it. It’s easy and straightforward to do too. The software is compatible with all file types.

 

Click on a file and press “Convert to Locker,” and it will stay safe.  Only you and those you authorize can access the data and nobody else. Don’t forget to encrypt everything you plan on uploading to the cloud.

 

Likewise, backups also go a long way in fighting ransomware attacks. But these backups are only effective if you encrypt them too. Keep at least two encrypted backups at all times—one in the cloud and one in a local storage drive. Depending on your needs, you may want to update these backups at least once a week or more.

 

Finally, educate yourself and employees on cyber hygiene. Many attacks begin with email attachments and links. Learn how to distinguish between fake emails and legitimate ones. Always scan all downloads and links before opening. On top of anti-malware apps and system updates, conduct regular security audits of all machines connected to your networks.

 

Ransomware attacks are scary, but they don’t have to happen to you. Protect your data by implementing these measures on your mac-OS, iOS, and all other digital devices.

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