The New Reality of Ransomware

By Alan Jackson, CISSP

Investment firms are getting hit with ransomware right now. Many of these infections are never reported, but we know that our clients are at risk because we hear real-world stories from our client base describing ransomware attacks.

If you are not familiar with ransomware, it is malicious software that infects your computer and restricts users in some way. For example, some ransomware systematically encrypts files on hard drives making them impossible to use. The attacker then demands payment in order to remove the restriction. This type of threat became popular in Russia, and is on the rise in the United States. The perpetrators of these attacks have extorted millions of dollars from victims so we believe that this threat will continue. The most common ways to become impacted are to download and install an infected file or program from the Internet or opening a malicious email attachment. Some of these programs or applications work as described but are simultaneously performing malicious actions in the background. Ashland Partners encourages everyone to use caution with any files or programs that you receive from unknown or unexpected sources. For additional information, we have included a link to an article describing how ransomware affected a hospital:

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/02/18/california-hospital-ransomware-attack-hackers/

For more information about current threats facing the investment industry or to learn how Ashland Partners can assist you with building a secure cyber environment, please contact us at 541.857.8800 or email alan@ashlandpartners.com.

3/7/16 Update – A new ransomware threat was just discovered on Macintosh computers.  Threats against Apple computers are a new frontier for ransomware.  For more information see the following article:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-ransomware-idUSKCN0W80VX

 

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