Two years ago we were all aware of the term ‘computer virus’, but in May 2017 the majority of people in the UK became familiar with a new computer term…ransomware.

It’s been almost two years since the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack which infected over 230,000 PCs worldwide within the space of just a couple of days. The UK was largely affected due to the amount of damage it caused the NHS, putting GPs and hospitals close to a standstill for over 24 hours.

In 2017 ransomware attacks were at an all time high, largely because of the WannaCry attack, and in 2018 it was named the biggest threat to businesses worldwide. This status remained going into 2019 however ransomware attacks went mostly unheard of in the news, so is ransomware as big of a threat as it was 2 years ago?

According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019, just 12% of cyber security attacks and breaches on UK businesses were ransomware attacks, this is down from 2018 which saw ransomware attacks hit 15%. However these statistics do not prove that ransomware is less of a threat…

At the end of 2019 the foreign exchange company Travelex was hit by a disastrous ransomware attack which left their users working on pen and paper. 5GB of confidential customer data including names, addresses, dates of birth and national insurance number became encrypted with a ransom of £4.6 million being demanded by criminals for the data to be retrieved.

Although the data was not stolen, and you could argue that 5GB of data is not a lot, the Travelex network was forced offline to prevent a spread of the virus leaving their business at almost a standstill.

Travelex will have lost thousands of pounds worth of business due to the ransomware attack, and will likely have hired security specialists to review and help improve their security to ensure it doesn’t happen again, adding up to the overall cost the attack has caused them.

The effects of ransomware can be disastrous to a business which is why it is and forever will be a threat. Although you don’t hear about it in the news as often it is still out there and there are criminals making new adapted versions of it all the time, which is why it is imperative you continue to preemptively protect your data.

The obvious ways of protecting your business from a ransomware attack are ensuring the obvious security applications, hardware and procedures are in place; antivirus, up to date devices and applications, firewalls and user education are the crucial parts to every network.

It is important however to have a disaster recovery plan in place in case you are ever victim to a successful attack. Things like daily off-site and on-site backups will ensure that in the case of a ransomware attack, only a small amount of data is lost which can be the difference to completely saving a business.

Get in contact with Cyber Wise to discuss your business disaster recovery plan.