Yes, It’s True, Your Data can be Held Hostage

Articles today state: “A Los Angeles hospital just paid a ransom equivalent to around $17,000 in bitcoins to get its computer systems back up and running.” Ransomware has been a threat for some time and continues to have variations which threaten the accessibility and integrity of your data and systems. Unlike other virus or malware attacks which may render your systems, PC or data unusable and leave them that way, ransomware gives the victim the ability to recover from the attack by paying some form of ransom. Most of the threats today depend on forms of “social engineering attacks”. These are attacks which depend on a user to take some form of action on their PC in order to trigger the attack. The social engineering aspect of the attack is why an educated and aware group of employees is critical. A vast majority of computer threats are in fact detected and stopped before either entering a corporate environment or are neutralized once on a PC using anti-virus software. The problem is, in order to avoid the problem of “false positives”, stopping legitimate emails for instance, some form of creative email or attachment will always leak through to the user. The social engineering aspect of the attack will then convince the user to take some action, whether to click on a specific website or enable macros within MS Word or MS Excel. It is these last steps which are the weakest links and need constant education and exposure in order to keep your data from being held hostage.

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