There's plenty of characters we could use as examples of people sleeping on money, with Tony Stark AKA Iron Man and Bruce Wayne AKA Batman at the very top of the list. If the amount of money you keep in your bank account differ from theirs, you probably know a lot of ways you could spend it instead of paying for not being careful enough, so unless you're Richie Rich, read below to find out what you should be paying close attention to.
With the rise of innovative tech devices like autonomous cars and innovative tech solutions like smart homes, cyber security should become just as popular. In reality, however, more and more individuals and businesses ignore cyber threats, allowing criminals to show off their talents. That is exactly why ransomware is becoming more dangerous than ever with over US$209 million in ransomware payments processed in the United States in the first three months of 2016 as a proof.
While kidnapping someone in reality is extremely risky, as you can get caught at almost every step of your way, threatening people online and demanding ransom for their data seems to be incomparably easier. Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that encrypts your data and asks for money to unlock it. The reason why it is extremely dangerous is there's only two options: you can lose your money, but save your data, or save your money, but lose your data. Either way, you lose.
Being the next Elliot from the Golden Globe winning TV series Mr. Robot is not demanded, ransomware is much easier than hacking and thus better at attacking a multicorporation.
Hackers usually gain access to corporate data when an employee visits a malicious website or opens an infected e-mail attachment. The malicious software is then installed and all your files are encrypted, but the software does not stop, it starts spreading through the network, attacking the entire company. It eventually asks you to pay a ransom -- usually in an online virtual currency like Bitcoin, making it even harder to trace and catch hackers.
According to Kaspersky Labs report on ransomware published last year, hackers usually target small and medium sized businesses. Individuals and big corporations are less likely to become victims as the possibilities of small and midsized companies are limited and all they can do is to pay the ransom. However, small and midsized companies are exactly the ones that do not pay enough attention to cyber threats, being convinced criminals would only attack bigger businesses. Konstantin Voronkov, head of endpoint product management Kaspersky Lab, warns that crypto-malware is becoming a more and more serious
When it comes to whether you should pay the ransom once you have been hacked, opinions differ. Experts from Kaspersky Lab advise individuals and businesses not to pay the ransom as any amount of money may serve as a reward, encouraging hackers to create new ransomware. The other thing is, there is no guarantee you will get your data back as you are, after all, dealing with criminals. Patrick Wheeler, director of product Proofpoint, says that cyber criminals will return to someone who paid, so payment to recover your files simply confirms that you will be a good target for future attacks and scams.
The most common advice you can hear is to do regular backups. Good backup policy will help you avoid the payment and save your data at the same time. Storing backups both online and offline may be the best solution as they both may fail individually. Once you have been hacked, you are not likely to get your computer back and this is when online backup will help. On the other hand, many ransomware variants try to encrypt data on connected network shares.
Another thing you and your employees and co-workers should remember is to keep up to date. Updating your operating system, e-mail programs and different applications may improve security.
Even though a lot of people imagine the near future as a battle between humans and robots that are becoming stronger and more independent every day, the reality is the enemy will still be another human being and if you don't pay enough attention, you're very likely to lose.