Steps to Deal with Cyber Threats

Steps to Deal with Cyber Threats

Today, we are blessed with plenty of new technological advancements that were a pipedream just a few decades back. But, as you may guess, new technology inevitably comes with risks and curses. Just look at the recent high-profile ransomware attacks by REvil group hitting one million systems resulting in the largest-ever ransom demand of $70 million. In fact, we need to understand the risks that come with the blessings of modern technology. Get ready, it will not take long before you start dealing with big challenges that come with the advent of new technological advances.

For instance, you must be aware of the frightening term ‘malware.' However, are you also familiar with the term ‘ransomware'? Well, this is a kind of malicious software that is used to encrypt data on a computer or smartphone.

What next? What if those who designed this technology suddenly demanded a ransom before you could regain access to your computer, smartphone, tablet or other device? Isn't such a prospect frightening? Well, you are not just reading some entertaining fiction here. No. This has already happened.

In 2015, a report by the Intel security showed that the incidences and rate of installations of ransomware were taking alarming dimensions. The rates had frighteningly increased by a whopping 26% in just 12 months leading to the release of that report.

How much does this smart racket rake in for the clever culprits? The FBI reported that the criminal gangs that initiate ransomware attacks were raking in a whopping $150 million every year from their dirty game. The FBI said that there were at least six million known attempts to install such malware on several computer systems spread across the world.

The report by the FBI did not, however, give an estimate on the overall value of the damage suffered by victims. Notably, most attacks by the ransomware racket involve not only a ransom demand but also real threats of damage or data leaks if the victims failed to pay up. What kind of threats were spewed out in the attempt to extort money from innocent victims in the cyber space?

If you are a respectable business owner, for instance, the racketeers would threaten that if you failed to pay the money demanded within a certain time frame, they would viciously send adult messages to all your customers, thus ruining your business. Alternatively, they would send graphic pornographic material to all your friends, relatives and acquaintances. Lately, the criminals are seemingly able to do this using innocent Microsoft word documents.

Why is this crime steadily growing? This practice is escalating because the software used by the gangs can be obtained easily online. Moreover, it is cheap. Further, the practice has been boosted by the entry of bitcoin payment into the fray. Why? You can pay the criminals while they remain incognito. This is because bitcoin payments are essentially so; the one receiving the money remains anonymous and virtually untraceable. This situation has helped not only the malware peddlers but also several other forms of cybercrime.

Who are generally targeted? Well, the so-called ‘soft targets'. These are typically small network or individual computers with relatively low levels of protection. In simple terms, these are vulnerable targets. Often, these kind of businesses don't even have protection in form of a firewall. But there is some good news in relation to this. You can easily get an effective protection for your computer to deal with such potential or real threats. What can you do about this immediately?

Simple. Carry out a backup of your whole computer system at least once every three months. As a suggestion, you can do this every month for a business computer. You can do this every three months if you are dealing with a personal computer. In case a ransomware attack occurs suddenly, it will become easy to deal with it. All you have to do is restore your computer immediately by means of such a backup. Doing this, you will defeat the ransom schemes instantly. At this point, the threats are rendered impotent. You, however, need to take further steps and do more to enjoy complete protection.

Make sure you report such subtle or direct attacks to the authorities. Unless they get informed of what goes on, they will have little chance to either catch the criminals or develop systems and issue advisories on how the criminals work.

Make sure to use a reputable software for antivirus besides installing a firewall. You can easily defeat incoming malware and ransomware just by putting in place these two systems. You may also purchase cyber insurance for business to deal with these kinds of cybercrime.