A worrying new security threat has been evolving over the last couple of years and is becoming an increasingly serious problem for companies everywhere.

Ransomware is a type of virus or malware program that blocks access to files on an infected host computer. The victim is then asked to pay a ransom, or possibly to buy fake anti-virus software, to ‘fix’ the problem, usually in untraceable bitcoins. As many attacks ask for relatively small amounts of money, victims often feel it’s easier just to pay up than go through the pain of complaining about the scam, and potentially losing invaluable data forever (not to mention the sheer hassle of figuring out how to counter the attack successfully…)

Ransomware is going Global

Although ransomware has been around for at least a decade, it has become increasingly sophisticated, with attacks geolocated and translated into multiple languages and the use of advanced encryption and software that infects back-ups.

Recent high-profile cases include the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, which ended up paying $17,000 in ransom in February to stop a blockage, while in the UK, Lincolnshire County Council was hit with a demand for £1 million after attackers closed their computer systems.

Cross platform Ransomware

With Mac computers and Android phones, now also being targetted, the problem is spreading in scope and becoming an even wider threat. As news of high-profile successes hit the news, it’s likely to become even more popular among criminals.

Ransomware Protection: Dealing with the threat

With a growing number of ransomware programs, it’s difficult for anti-virus software to keep up to date with all the threats.

To help decrease the risk it’s a smart idea to employ an additional line of defense, such as employee monitoring software.
Employee monitoring software can be installed remotely onto all of your company computers, tablets and smartphones, where it can monitor what programs and Internet sites your employees use.

It’s an excellent way of ensuring that they are not visiting any sites or using any applications that may put their devices at risk of being infected.

With the ability to also monitor all communications, you can also quickly see if there is any unusual activity on any devices.

Also, the system can alert managers when specified files are accessed or copied so you can immediately know if anyone is trying to take your data hostage.

Over to You

With the rise in Ransomware, what policies do you think would make companies more secure?

Let us know in the comments section below.