What would you do if a hacker gained access to your network, stole your critical business data, and refused to give it back unless you paid a ransom? It might sound like something out of a movie, but it’s a reality some businesses are facing. So… would you pay up, or risk your data being lost forever?
Every business holds valuable data that needs to be protected. And in the digital age, the quantity of data is growing all the time. The good news is that robust IT security practices can help to keep your data secure. The bad news is that it’s impossible to eradicate risk completely. Even with strong processes in place, businesses can still be hit with an attack. And ransomware is one of the worst.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of malware that works by preventing you from accessing your business-critical files, documents, and other important data sets. The data is locked away by a hacker, who states they will restore access upon receipt of a ransom. This is usually paid in the form of cryptocurrency.
If you were in this situation, what would you do? Let’s explore the options…
Paying the ransom
Paying a ransom can be a major financial hit for an organisation. However, many businesses believe this is the best option because gaining access to their data is key to their recovery and future success. What’s important to remember is that there are no guarantees that, even if the ransom is paid, data access will be restored. In fact, Gartner notes that just 8% of businesses manage to recover all data.
Not paying the ransom
Refusing to pay the ransom means that the hacker may use your data for malicious purposes. They may leak sensitive information, sell data to your competitors, or share confidential details with your suppliers and customers. This could greatly impact your organisational reputation. However, it’s important to understand that these things may still happen, even if the ransom is paid in full.
So what should you do?
The Australian Cyber Security Centre states that you should ‘never pay a ransom’ for two reasons:
- There is no guarantee that paying the ransom will mean you get your data back
- Paying up shows a willingness to pay, and may make you an easier target in the future
So what should you do? Disconnect your device from the internet, close down all programs, and use anti-virus software to detect the malware. Once detected, log a report online with the ACSC.
Prevention is better than cure
While it is possible to recover from a ransomware attack, it is, of course, better if it doesn’t happen in the first place! That’s what we’re here to help with. At Perigon One, we specialise in IT security, helping you to protect your data and keep your business as safe as possible in the digital world.
From monitoring your network to boosting awareness of best practices and backing up your data, our aim is to help you operate with confidence, without worrying about the risk of cyber attacks. We work with organisations to develop robust strategies that minimise the likelihood of cybercrime, and maximise the chance of a speedy recovery should the worst happen. Contact us to find out more.