Ransomware - What is it, and why is it bad?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software or malware designed to encrypt or lock up files on a victim's computer, making them inaccessible. The attackers then demand payment, usually in a cryptocurrency, in exchange for a decryption key that will allow the victim to regain access to their files.

Ransomware attacks are considered especially harmful because they can result in a complete loss of data or can significantly disrupt business operations. Moreover, even if the victim pays the ransom, there is no guarantee that the attackers will provide the decryption key or that the key will work properly.

Ransomware attacks are typically spread through phishing emails, compromised websites, or unsecured remote access services. To protect against ransomware attacks, keeping software up-to-date, using strong passwords, and backing up critical data regularly is important.

It is also essential to be cautious when opening email attachments or clicking on links, especially if they are from unknown senders or appear suspicious. Additionally, installing the right anti-virus program on your computer can help detect and prevent ransomware infections.

There have been several high-profile ransomware attacks on large companies in recent years.

  1. Colonial Pipeline: In May 2021, the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies nearly half of the fuel to the East Coast of the United States, was hit by a ransomware attack that forced the company to shut down its operations for several days.
  2. JBS: In June 2021, JBS, one of the largest meat producers in the world, was hit by a ransomware attack that disrupted its operations in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
  3. Kaseya: In July 2021, A ransomware attack paralyzed as many as 1,500 organizations by compromising tech-management software from a company called Kaseya and since has set off a race among criminals looking for similar vulnerabilities. Take down one company and have control of thousands of companies.
  4. Garmin: In July 2020, Garmin, a leading manufacturer of GPS and fitness tracking devices, was hit by a ransomware attack that disrupted its services for several days.
  5. Maersk: In June 2017, Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, was hit by a ransomware attack that disrupted its operations worldwide and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Founded in 2014, Anchor is an award-winning team recognized as one of the leading IT companies in North America. Anchor’s focus is on helping small and medium businesses throughout Saskatchewan. We work with industry leading vendors to ensure your business is protected and growing smoothly.

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