Ransomware continues to grow, not only as one of the most popular forms of malware but also as one of the largest industries in the world. And no small part of this growth is due to the rise of ransomware as a service. Ransomware as a service is similar to any other software as a service in that the developer leases the use of the software to anyone willing to pay for it. However, in this case, the software is ransomware, meaning that anyone can launch a ransomware attack even without significant technical knowledge. In 2020 alone, the total revenue generated by ransomware is estimated to be around $20 billion.
Numbers like that are the reason that ransomware continues to remain prevalent and grow. They are also the reason that you should never pay the ransom. If victims stop paying the ransom, ransomware will no longer be profitable leading hackers to employ it less or not at all. Of course, it can be a tall order to ask a ransomware victim not to pay the ransom; after all, they likely have just lost access to vital information for their business's operations. Thankfully, you can take steps to ensure you are protected, even if you end up the victim of ransomware.
The best counter to ransomware is to have backups of your data. Since the main problem caused by ransomware is to prevent you from accessing your information, having a copy of that information somewhere else to draw from negates that problem. Of course, to ensure that your backups remain helpful, you will need to follow proper backup standards. We have gone into more detail about this before here, but the short version is you need to regularly make multiple backups of your data and keep those backups in different locations that are not accessible from each other. The reason you would do this is to ensure that not all your backups can be compromised at the same time; otherwise, they would not be much help if they were all at once rendered inaccessible.
Ransomware isn't going to go away overnight, nor is malware, in general, going to stop being a problem any time in the foreseeable future. However, we should always be making an effort to reduce the use and spread of malware. Whenever a ransomware attack fails to make the attacker money, they have less incentive to try again.
We highly recommend you get our Cybersecurity Essentials for Business Owners to understand the state of cybersecurity in today's climate.
Remember: Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.