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What is Ransomware and why you should care

27 February 2023

Over the past few years, ransomware attacks have become a significant threat to businesses of all sizes. Unfortunately, small businesses are often the most vulnerable to these types of attacks due to limited resources and less sophisticated cybersecurity defenses. In this article, we will explore the rise of ransomware in small businesses, providing some eye-opening statistics to demonstrate the severity of the problem.

 

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim's files, making them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker. This type of attack is typically carried out by cybercriminals who use phishing emails or other social engineering techniques to gain access to a company's network or system. Once inside, the attacker will install the ransomware and demand payment in exchange for the decryption key needed to restore the encrypted data.

 

The Rise of Ransomware in Small Businesses

According to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, ransomware attacks accounted for 10% of all data breaches in 2020, up from just 1% in 2017. What's more, small businesses were the most common target of these attacks, accounting for 28% of all ransomware incidents.

Another survey conducted by Datto found that 60% of small businesses reported experiencing a ransomware attack in the past year. Of those businesses that were attacked, 75% paid the ransom, and 1 in 5 of those that paid the ransom did not regain access to their data.

The Cost of Ransomware Attacks

 

Ransomware attacks can be incredibly costly for small businesses. The average cost of a ransomware attack for a small business was $5,900, according to a Datto study. This cost includes the cost of the ransom, lost productivity, and other costs.

However, the true cost of a ransomware attack can be much higher than this. In some cases, businesses may be forced to shut down entirely due to the attack, resulting in lost revenue and potentially even bankruptcy. Additionally, paying the ransom does not guarantee that the attacker will provide the decryption key needed to restore access to the encrypted data.

 

Preventing Ransomware Attacks

Preventing ransomware attacks requires a multifaceted approach that includes regular software updates, employee training, and the use of firewalls and antivirus software. Small businesses should also consider backing up their data regularly and storing backups in a secure offsite location. This way, they can recover from an attack without having to pay a ransom.

 

Conclusion

Ransomware attacks are a growing threat to small businesses, and the statistics demonstrate the severity of the problem. With the average cost of an attack nearing $6,000, it is essential that small business owners take steps to protect themselves against these types of attacks. By regularly backing up data and investing in employee training and cybersecurity tools, small businesses can significantly reduce their risk of a ransomware attack.