Ransomware has come back with a vengeance in 2019, with the news headlines filled with victims; the latest being the shipping and mailing giant Pitney Bowes.
The ransomware attack reportedly impacted a number of the business’ systems and disrupted some of its client services. Customers were unable to access the company’s online store or top up the credit on the company’s postage meter products.
The attack on Pitney Bowes is just the latest in a recent string against high-profile businesses. Since the start of 2019 the aluminium maker Norsk Hydro, the drinks giant Arizona Beverages, science services company Eurofins and Finnish oil refiner Neste have all fallen victim to ransomware. In France, media company Groupe M6 was hit by an attack that forced it to shut down its servers and phone lines. The ransomware reportedly only caused mild disruption but TV station TF1 said via social media that it had stopped all email communication with Groupe M6 in case the ransomware spread.
As well as big-name businesses, dozens of healthcare organisations in the USA, Australia and Europe were also forced to close down some of their operations as a result of ransomware. Over the last 10 months, 140 local governments, police stations and hospitals in the USA have been impacted by ransomware.
The situation in the USA has got so bad that the FBI recently issued a public service announcement entitled ‘High Impact Ransomware Attacks Threaten US Businesses and Organisations.’
The announcement warns – “Ransomware attacks are becoming more targeted, sophisticated, and costly, even as the overall frequency of attacks remains consistent. Since early 2018, the incidence of broad, indiscriminate ransomware campaigns has sharply declined, but the losses from ransomware attacks have increased significantly, according to complaints received by IC3 [the Internet Crime Complaint Centre] and FBI case information.”
In the UK, a report released by Databarracks showed that a third of UK organisations were victims to this type of an attack in the past year. The report also suggests that the number of ransomware attacks is back on the rise and seems to be targeting companies regardless of size or sector.
There are a few ways you can reduce the risks posed by ransomware. These include:
By doing the above you can reduce the ransomware threat, but one thing is certain, if 2019’s trend continues we could potentially see a record-breaking year for ransomware.