Nearly half (45%) of businesses recognise the serious threat posed by cryptomalware, also known as ransomware. In South Africa, the figure is 41%.
This is a sharp increase from 37% in 2014, according to a joint study of information security of businesses conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International in 2015 among over 5 500 IT specialists from 26 countries around the world.
However, despite this rising awareness, cryptomalware attacks continue to severely impact companies, with the CryptoLocker ransomware, for example, believed to have infected more than 234 000 computers worldwide.
The global cyberthreat landscape continues to expand and cybercriminals have discovered that the malicious encryption of data, followed by a ransom demand, can be highly profitable. Many companies admit that they often just pay up.
Businesses are a tempting target for ransom attack. It doesn’t matter if they are very small or of enterprise size, cryptomalware will find a way in if there is no security to block it. Like other forms of malware, it enters a network through emails, malicious attachments or links from a compromised website, which is then opened, downloaded or clicked on by unsuspecting employees. There are no signs to alert a user that they have been infected until they receive the ransom demand.
A reliable, multi-layered security solution is the only thing that will stop cryptomalware in its tracks.
“Cryptomalware attacks are profitable and increasingly popular with cybercriminals,” says David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “Businesses often pay up without realising that there is no guarantee that their data will be unlocked when they do – and there is evidence that poorly-coded ransomware can mean some information is never recovered.
“The best way to protect the company’s data and assets is to implement comprehensive cyber-security measures that cover everything from infrastructure and storage to mobile networks – all accompanied by employee awareness and education. Furthermore it’s essential that data is backed up regularly, so that the company doesn’t find itself in the invidious position of having to choose between paying the ransom or losing data.”