How Small Businesses Can Prepare For the Rise of Ransomware[source: infosecurity-magazine]

Ransomware is a growth industry – and it’s growing because it works. Attacks that lock up data unless a ransom is paid shot up an unbelievable 6000% worldwide in 2016 over the previous year. According to the FBI, hackers “earned” over a billion dollars in ransomware attacks in 2016, some five times over the amount they netted in 2015.

Despite the big numbers, it’s small users who may be suffering the most. There’s reason to believe that small businesses are among the primary targets – perhaps even more than big businesses – of ransomware hackers. According to one study, the average payment demanded by hackers for releasing a system was $679 – an amount that seems paltry, almost, except when you put it in context with who the victims of these demands really are.

Perhaps the most important statistic – the one that makes the whole effort worthwhile for hackers – is that some 70% of victims pay up, according to a report by IBM. Of those, more than half paid $10,000 or more in ransom to free up their data. A Ponemon Institute study shows that 56% of companies surveyed said they are not ready to fend off ransomware attacks, and just 38% said they have a strategy to deal with ransomware and other malware.

Another Ponemon study says that while 66% of respondents rate the threat of ransomware as very serious, only 13% rated their companies’ preparedness to prevent ransomware as high.

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