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The Growing Menace of Ransomware in the U.S.

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Ransomware has grown exponentially during 2017, and the trend seems likely to continue in 2018 as well. There are few options available once a ransomware virus has taken over your system. The time to act against ransomware is now. It is important to protect yourself before your system is affected.


Alarming Numbers and Trends 

Ransomware attacks on business increased 36 percent in 2017, with small businesses presenting the biggest targets. Keep in mind this is a 300 percent increase over 2015. Some of the most concerning trends in ransomware attacks were attacks on healthcare related organizations being the fastest growing targets, and that mobile devices are showing signs of being the next channel that attackers zero in on. The odds that your system will be hit with a ransomware attack at some point is almost certain. 


Responding to an Attack 

Once your system is hit, your options for responding are limited, and many Americans simply pay the ransom. Just like cooperating any blackmailer, however, paying the ransom makes it more likely that you will be targeted again in the future. In some cases, it may be possible to decrypt a system that’s been hit by a ransomware attack, but even in cases where the decryption is known, you may still lose some data. The best hope for recovering from a ransomware attack is to have a quality backup system in place beforehand. 


Take Action Now

Most ransomware attacks are not brand-new threats. Hackers recycle old attacks hoping to catch systems that have not updated their software with the latest security patches. Close the known vulnerabilities in your system by staying on top of software updates and keeping your system current.


Emphasize the importance of not opening suspicious emails. Infected emails remain the number one gateway to your system. Make regular reminders a part of life to avoid those emails and forward anything remotely suspicious to the IT department.


Have a backup system in place to recover data from before the infection occurred. Once your system is compromised, having a backup is the only good option for recovery.


By being proactive, your system may weather the crisis of a ransomware attack. The odds are you will take action against ransomware. The only question is whether this action will take place before or after an attack.