Ransomware Gangs Running Wild On The Virtual Streets Of America
Cybersecurity is always a moving target, with cybercriminals regularly changing their methods of attack. No matter who you are, you can never get too comfortable online. In this week’s On The Air, Luis Alvarez talks about how ransomware gangs are changing who they target, how much money is being taken, and what this means for top executives.
Ransomware gangs have been around for a long time, taking money from those who find themselves unprotected. But in recent years, they have begun to shift their process from targeting many people throughout an organization, to instead just going straight to the top. More than ever, CEOs and other C-suite executives are finding themselves in the crosshairs of ransomware gangs.
Previously, ransomware gangs have encrypted people’s data and sold the decryption key back to them for money. Nowadays, a double-ransom method is being used. Cybercriminals are now stealing data, attempting to sell it back to you, and if you refuse to pay them they threaten to leak the information. This usually results in people paying this second ransom to prevent being publicly embarrassed.
Another shift is that instead of targeting regular employees, ransomware gangs are going after those at the top of corporations. This is because these members of the organization have access to more sensitive information than those working under them. Another reason is that most of the people who break security guidelines in a company are the tops members. They feel exempt from the rules because of their positions, not realizing that those positions are why they are at increased risk.
When these attacks occur, ransomware gangs start by breaching the networks, watching the behavior patterns of the company for up to a year, and then breaking into the computers of top executives to find valuable information. After this, they contact their target demanding ransom so that they can prevent the leaks mentioned above.
The number of ransomware attacks is increasing, but the average cost of ransom is going up as well. In 2018, ransom would usually cost a person around $5,000, but in 2020 the price jumped up to around $220,000 per attack. This means that ransomware attacks are becoming more high stakes for the targets, and more rewarding for the criminals.
The stories of those who have fell victim to this in the past are cautionary tales for CEOs and other top members now. The higher up you are in a company, the more likely you are to be attacked. You cannot break the security guidelines of your organization just because you have a high position. This is putting yourself and your business at serious risk. With data being one of our most important assets in the modern world, it must be guarded just as heavily as a warehouse full of merchandise.
Some have argued that ransomware gangs are lying about the information they have, hoping that you will pay out of fear rather than legitimate risk. This is often why top executives choose to let their guard down, not believing the matter is as serious as it is. However, what they fail to realize is that if the cybercriminals have gotten a small piece of your information, there was nothing to stop them from getting all of it.
Cybersecurity, though difficult, is one of the most important things to have in the modern world. With so much of your business and life being online, you cannot afford to put that information at risk. If you have more questions about how to protect your sensitive data, please reach out to us. Alvarez Technology Group is always here to make sure you’re secure.