You've been hearing about ransomware attacks where people and companies are paying hackers real money to get access to their locked computer systems. Recently, a Kentucky critical care facility and a California hospital were victims of the Locky ransomware attack.
That California hospital, for instance, paid hackers $17,000 in untraceable bitcoins. The hackers had locked up their computer system for 10 days using encryption.
Ransomware is so difficult for companies to fix that the FBI has said that victims should just pay up. Their reasoning is that the damage caused by the ransomware attack can be far more costly than the ransom itself.
Now, a new study backs that up, in frightening detail. The bottom line: If you're a victim, you'll likely end up paying the ransom. However, the damage done while your system is down could cost even more than that. For a large company, that cost could be far more than the ransom because it could take days just accessing backed-up files.
"If you've got a large number of users and downtime runs into multiple days, then the cost of that downtime adds up pretty quickly," according to the authors of the Intermedia study. The company surveyed 300 IT professionals.
The amount of damage caused by ransomware hackers is mind-boggling. More than 42% of survey respondents said they worked for companies that had been victims of ransomware attacks.
Some 72% of companies that were victimized could not access their computer systems, including patients' medical records, for two or more days; 32% could not access their system for at least five days.
Don't be the next victim of a ransomware attack. It's critical that you have a strong Internet security system on all your devices.