Ransomwares are on the rise again as “WannaCry” and “Petya” have infected companies from all over the globe including the United States. Ransomwares are worse than malwares because they do not just turn files into defective ones, but they also compromise the privacy of your company files while extorting money from you by holding those files hostage.
WannaCry infested businesses on May 12, 2017, with Europe as its primary location. Meanwhile, Petya infected the Ukraine, Russia, and the USA on June 27, 2017. These acts of cyber terrorism left the businesses in fear of losing substantial company files. In addition, it was a rapid and massive disruption of integral services for health providers, law firms, and virtual assistance.
Petya is the latest kind of cryptolocker ransomware that causes encryption of the data of companies.
When the cyber attack occurs, a message saying, “oops, your important files are encrypted”, is flashed on the screen of the device. An average ransom of $300 worth of bitcoins is demanded for the retrieval of the files that have been encrypted by both ransomwares. Victims were asked to pay in a very short span of time with the threat that the ransom would be doubled if not paid immediately.
Some U.S. companies that were affected are: Heritage Valley Health Systems in Pennyslyvania, Mondelez International Inc.’s Cadbury, Merck & Co., Inc. in New Jersey, Nuance Communications Inc., and the multi-national law firm, DLA Piper, in Massachusetts. The effects of these ransomwares not only effected the proprietors of these businesses, but it was felt by its customers as well. The needed assistance of healthcare providers like Heritage Valley Health Systems, and the privacy of testimonies from a law firm like DLA Piper were at risk when these ransomwares encrypted their systems.
For now, these ransomwares have only penetrated Windows operating systems but other operating systems could be next. Unfortunately, the prevalence of ransomwares has turned into an unfortunate business framework due to the forced transactions and extortions from the business owners who are desperate to regain their data.
How does this happen? These malwares can easily access computers when the antivirus software and the Microsoft operating system are not updated leaving them extremely vulnerable.