Mounting a defence in the ransomware war

Ransomware attacks are escalating – it’s a criminal industry already worth billions and it’s only going to get worse. Baker Tilly’s cyber security experts discuss common weaknesses and how best to prepare against the inevitable because it’s a case of when, not if, a business is hit.
It’s the customer service story you never want to tell.
Locked out of their critical IT systems, facing the loss of important corporate and customer data, the Kenyan business could only speak glowingly of the call centre offering support. Within a matter of minutes, a helpful operator was able to guide the business through the process of making a payment so they could get their files restored.

But the catch is this wasn’t an IT help desk on the phone. It was one of the well-staffed, smoothly run ransomware call centres that allow people to negotiate and pay the criminal enterprises that have encrypted their data in the first place.
Ransomware is now one of the world’s most profitable (and seemingly low risk) criminal enterprises — with an underground network estimated to cost legitimate business around USD20 billion this year alone.

While that sum is 57 times the amount collected by ransomware gangs only a few years ago, the worst is yet to come, and some experts suggest that within a decade, USD265 billion will be stolen and extorted annually through ransomware crime. And with that growth in revenue has come remarkable sophistication as crime gangs efficiently target victims, with an estimated 150% surge in attacks in the past year.

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