The business impacts of ransomware
Most business users have heard of "malware" - malicious software designed to disrupt a business, cause an alteration of processes, etc. "Ransomware" is a variant of malware which in accordance with the name, is designed to infect a user's system (and potentially any connected networked systems) with code which either locks out access to the data, or which is capable of encrypting the subject data. The perpetrator will attempt to blackmail the company into payment of a "ransom" to regain access to the affected data. Ransomware is more widely known now, both because of the damage done to organizations, but also because these organizations were generally doing a reasonable job of protecting their systems. Ransomware is truly an attack which relies primarily upon 1) untrained or unwary users and 2) poor information technology defenses
Some useful links are noted below with good synopsis regarding ransomware and methods such as CryptoLocker and CryptoWall:
It is worth noting that some of the recommended steps to avoid ransomware focus on software and hardware solutions...but in our experience, the most advanced defenses must be used IN CONJUNCTION WITH proper user training, awareness, and discipline. Some of the most current advice regarding prevention is offered by Trend Micro, CERT, Sophos, and the FBI. Interestingly, the FBI has counselled victims in the past to pay the ransom...for the most part, these companies were not going to recover their encrypted data any other way.
To prevent ransomware we strongly recommend the following: