Have you ever wondered why cyber security threats (mainly Ransomware) continue to grow exponentially over the last few years? How is it there are so many more threats but we aren’t hearing about anyone being arrested? Are we losing the cyber security war???
All very good questions but in this article we’ll focus on the “why” factor. You see, just like in your business, hackers are driven by money. As an industry insider and business owner I’ve watched these threats evolve over the years from pesky viruses meant to annoy you to highly sophisticated and profitable tools that can shut down a business. In those earlier days it was more about bragging rights than money. If some kid can show his virus infected 1000 computers, he was the big cheese in his little hacker community. At least until someone out did him…
From that basic concept morphed the idea of using these programs to steal personal information which could then be sold on the black market. These were fairly unsophisticated attempts at introducing an element of profit into the game and really kick started the enormous growth of threats coming at us today. Once these hackers began to see the profit they started to organize. Think of it as they were forming little illegal businesses focused on nothing but profit. Through this organization they were able to fine tune the processes and went on to make millions by selling this data to identity thieves online.
Like any profitable “company” they decided to double down on “Research & Development” in creating new tools that can provide more profit. This is where the Ransomware you know today was born. The earlier versions of Ransomware were quite basic in their functionality but worked as intended. Over the last couple of years they have become much more sophisticated in their distribution and payment methods. These bad guys soon realized how profitable their creation was and continue to evolve them to this day. The most recent versions are even combining malware code to more rapidly spread through computer networks.
Right, back to the “Why”… If you ran a business which was making a descent profit, would you invest in R&D? Most likely yes. Then if your engineers developed an awesome product which increased your profit margins by ridiculous levels and also provided a more robust distribution network, would you move ahead with bringing that product to market? Now for the big question; Would you continue pumping R&D into developing a more sophisticated product and more distribution channels as long as you saw there was going to be the need for it? That’s the same situation these hackers are in and you can bet they will take full advantage of it!
How can you protect your business computers? There are multiple layers involved with ensuring your data is protected. It’s not as easy as just installing an antivirus product anymore. I would suggest you work with your IT Department, IT Service Provider or Managed Service Provider to ensure you are protected adequately. Some things to consider are; Are all potential entry points (web browsing, email, etc.) secured? Is my network secure? Do I have adequate virus protection and is it being maintained/updated? Are my employees provided the tools and knowledge to keep my company safe? Do we have a process to ensure security patches are installed promptly? Are my files protected from being hi-jacked?
Are you interested in learning more about protecting your business from Cyber Criminals? Download my e-book “7 Security Protections Every Business Should Have In Place”