5 myths about ransomware that you need to ignore

5 July 2018 by Mark Williams

Ransomware is one of the most dangerous and expensive forms of cyber attack that a business can face. But, despite widespread awareness of the ransomware threat (particularly in the wake of 2017’s WannaCry attack), myths about ransomware and its impacts still pervade.

Here are five of the most common ransomware myths that you should ignore.

Myth 1: Ransomware only affects Windows PCs

While it’s true that Windows machines are the most common target for malware attacks, the myth that Macs are immune to ransomware is categorically false. In fact, several ransomware programmes developed to specifically target Mac OS have been identified and reported.

Macs are not immune to malware nor are they necessarily more secure than Windows PCs. Indeed, last year Symantec has observed a ‘notable increase in attacks against Macs that began at the end of 2016 and accelerated during 2017.’

Myth 2: Criminals only target big corporations in ransomware attacks

Sorry, but small businesses are a target for ransomware attacks too. Some assessments found that as many as one-third of small businesses were hit by ransomware in 2016 - and 1 in 5 businesses closed their doors because of it. The average ransom is US$544, so criminals aren’t just targeting big corporations with deep pockets. The tragic truth is that everyone is at risk.

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Myth 3: If you pay the ransom, you’ll get your data back

Breaking news: criminals are untrustworthy. According to CyberEdge, 50.6 percent of victims who coughed up the ransom money in 2017 lost their data anyway. If you experience a ransomware attack, don’t pay the ransom. Restore your data from a backup instead.

Myth 4: Ransomware isn’t a problem if you’ve got backups

We wish this was true. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

The cost of ransomware-induced downtime can be as high as US$8,500 per hour. Even if you manage to restore your data from a backup, you’ve still lost money as a result. You’re not immune to the financial and reputational damage of a ransomware attack even if you’ve got firewalls and backups in place.

Myth 5: Ransomware attacks are sophisticated and targeted

While many ransomware attacks are targeted at specific organisations and institutions, the reality is that most ransomware attacks are random. Criminals will go after anyone.

This is why spam email is main channel for the distribution of ransomware. Most ransomware attacks start with someone opening a malicious attachment or clicking a suspicious link. Criminals run spam email campaigns in the hopes that some unknowing person will click and download their ransomware. This is why we keep banging on about the importance of cybersecurity training and inbox security.

Don’t fall for malicious myths

The internet is awash with fake news and false statements about everything, including ransomware. To keep your business safe, we suggest:

● Getting your IT security news and information from trustworthy sources like these

● Asking actual IT professionals for help and guidance

● Downloading our free business guide to ransomware

Got questions about ransomware? Get in touch here or send us a message in the chat window. We’re happy to help.

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