CYBER Extortion: Why Cyber Criminals are winning!

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Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

There’s no doubt that Ransomware is now a worldwide epidemic. In discussions with my peers in the industry and clients indicate that the threat of ransomware is stronger than ever, and the stakes have never been higher.

A friend of mine recently recounted a sad story. He told me about one of his clients, a family owned flower shop that suffered a $3,000 ransomware attack. They didn’t have the proper BDR (Backup Disaster Recovery) technology in place or the ability to pay the ransom demand. With limited cash flow, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and they were forced to close their doors and walk away after 15 years.

How did this to happen? What have we done to get ourselves into this situation? What was the trigger that allowed these thieves to do this and get away with It.? The answer is surprisingly simple. Crypto Currencies. Crypto Currencies, like bitcoin, leaves no tracks and they facilitate Cyber Extortion.

My friend remarked that it’s almost like the old Hollywood gangster movies. We’ve all seen them: gangsters extort money from a small business owner using an implied threat of violence.  “You wouldn’t want your store to burn down, would you?” Of course, the small business owner has no choice but to pay up. According to my friend, and I completely agree, “What we’re dealing with today is no different. Hackers are extorting money from small business. This is cyber extortion.”

Again, how does this happen? Thieves pick on SMBs because they often do not have the means to defend themselves – they are “low hanging fruit”. Small business owners can’t possibly be 100% with their IT infrastructure protection, and Crypto Currencies are making it difficult to track and slow these criminals down.

A key point I make in all of my seminars is never, and I mean NEVER pay the ransom. When you pay the ransom, you are telling thieves that they have a fish on the line. You have the money, and you value your data. They’ll come back again and again. Even if you pay the ransom, there’s a significant chance you won’t get your data back anyway.

Your Take Away

Luckily, there are affordable plans and technologies in place that that can help businesses prevent and recover from attacks. But first you need to get serious about your technology. It’s not going to go away, so deal with it.

It goes without saying that technology is a business’s enabler, but we’ve seen it’s dark side. A properly managed BDR solution by a local expert is critical to ensuring success, keeping your doors open, and keeping YOUR money in YOUR pocket.

Bob Milliken specializes in helping businesses with their IT needs. Our mission is to provide the right solution at the right time. Find us at www.Compunet.ca. Bob can be reached at 604.986.8170 or by email at bob@compunet.ca.