A ransomware attack dubbed “WannaCry” spread across a staggering 150 countries over the weekend, holding users’ files across the globe ransom with the threat of destruction unless $300 was paid to restore them. Ransomware like the now-famous WannaCry essentially works by encrypting most – or in some extreme cases all – of the files on a user’s computer. The user must pay if they want access to any of these files again. Typically, with this kind of ransomware, if the amount isn’t paid within a given timeframe (for example, in the case of WannaCry within 72 hours) then the amount that must be paid to decrypt the files doubles.
WannaCry was first discovered last Friday and quickly spread to close to 60,000 computers worldwide. While Elliptic Labs, which tracks the illicit use of the bitcoin cryptocurrency, estimates that only about $50,000 has been paid in ransom so far, it is likely that this number will rise as the clock ticks, the ransom doubles, and users become even more desperate to decrypt their files. So far, the WannaCry attack has struck major organizations like banks, hospitals, government agencies, and several major companies and organizations.
The Devastating Cost of a Ransomware Attack
The ramifications of a ransomware attack on an organization can be catastrophic.
For example, a number of hospitals worldwide were targeted by the attack, locking healthcare professionals out of access to critical information, including patients’ electronic records detailing their contact information, prescription medications, and health status. Needless to say, this caused serious disruption to these organizations’ abilities to serve their patients, potentially even putting some in danger.
And in a worst-case scenario, ransomware isn’t just a hassle. It could actually shut down your business. For small businesses in particular, if all of their computers are hit with the attack, it can add up to a hefty fee – a fee that they might not be able to pay. If that’s the case, these businesses could very well lose all of their information and data, which is something they might not be able to recover from.
Is Your Organization Prepared?
There is currently no fix for WannaCry and the many other types of ransomware like it. The only thing you can do to prepare your organization is to put a comprehensive and robust business continuity plan in place. Putting a business continuity plan in place won’t just save you time and money in the event of a major catastrophe, it could very well save your business.
For more information, be sure to check out Ringstor’s business continuity planning tool at lifejacket.ringstor.com. When it comes to planning for the worst, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry.