This week, the Cipher Brief annual threat conference was held and Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ has reported that the number of ransomware attacks in the UK has doubled in the past year. This comes as no surprise as cybercrime in general has been increasing steadily over recent years, with the Covid-19 pandemic making businesses even more vulnerable. 

According to the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2021, the number of firms that fell victim to a cyber attack of some form rose from 38% to 43%, and approximately 1 in 6 of these attacks came in the form of ransomware. Chief Executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Lindy Cameron, has now named ransomware as “the most imminent danger” to UK businesses cyber security. 

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a user’s data so they can’t access it – including everything from individual files to complete databases and even applications. In short, ransomware can lock you out of every piece of information on your computer, or on a wider scale, on the computer of everyone in your business. Once encrypted, the hacker can demand a ransom for you to get back access to your own files – today this is often in cryptocurrency as it’s much harder to track. 

Why is ransomware increasing?

As with all areas of cyber security, the rapid switch to working remotely has left many businesses more vulnerable to ransomware. With more data being shared online, and simply more people using the internet, more vulnerabilities have arisen, and cybercrime in general has become more profitable. 

Unfortunately, ransomware is simply one of the most profitable forms of cybercrime. Any business owner can tell you how valuable the data on the company system is – this will include everything from internal team memos to confidential client details and payment information (likely of both your business and your valued clients), so it’s no surprise that if someone manages to get hold of this information and lock it down, they can demand a high price for it back. 

The Hiscox 2021 report cites that 58% of organisations hit with a ransomware attack paid the ransom, making ransomware a veritable “get rich quick” scheme for cyber criminals. 

What can you do?

Hiscox 2021 reported that businesses qualifying as experts had fewer attacks, were less likely to pay the ransom demanded and recovered more quickly after any attacks that did happen. It’s rare in SMB’s to have a staff member trained and dedicated to cyber security, but this expert knowledge and protection is crucial to guard you, your business and all of it’s information from attacks like ransomware. Think Connect can be your experts. 

We offer a free expert security assessment that will review the vulnerabilities in your business, and then we can work with you to protect against them with a 24/7 security response team to help identify ransomware threats, prevent you from having to pay the ransom, and help you recover afterwards.