Ransomware is a kind of malware that prevents users from accessing their own IT resources, bringing operations to a halt. The victim’s own resources are held hostage until a ransom is paid for the decryption key. This is done by encrypting data, deleting backups, and stealing information to use as extortion.
The threat of ransomware attacks has increased in 2020. More than 175 ransomware attacks made public, so far. Specialist groups like MAZE and Revil have expanded their techniques, resulting in breaches of anything from K-12 education, SMEs, Town Councils to even high-profile brands like Garmin and Cognizant.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the ‘new normal’ have contributed to the problem. Remote workers present an increased risk while existing cyber defenses focus on the office. Fear has led to new Covid-themed ransomware phishing attacks. Criminal gangs have laid down their arms and picked up digital weapons instead.