In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 2,673 complaints of ransomware with losses of over $2.4 million.* One large hospital in California paid $17,000 to regain control of its files after being unable to access them for 10 days.** Attacks are on the rise, with hospitals and small- to medium-size businesses especially vulnerable.
Ransomware is a type of malware that can infect a computer when a user clicks on a malicious link in an email or on a website. The malware encrypts files on the device and any others linked to it through a network. Users are locked out and receive a message from the cyber thieves to pay up in order to get access to their files.
The best course is to focus on prevention:
If you do get attacked, the FBI recommends not paying the ransom. You may not get the files back anyway, and it encourages future attacks. However, that may not be practical if your business cannot function. Robust security, user protocols and back-ups can help prevent ransomware attacks from succeeding.
* Source: FBI.gov, “2016 Internet Crime Report.”
** Los Angeles Times, latimes.com, Feb. 18, 2016.