Ransomware: Would You Rather Pay The Ransom Or Prevent It?

Nowadays, businesses face challenges that require them to be adaptable, as well as proactive. 

When it comes to unforeseen threats like insidious malware, however, businesses can take preventive measures to protect themselves. 

Viruses, hardware issues, and network security breaches are unpredictable. We now live in a time in which we’re more connected than ever. 

So at any given moment, a business’s network might be targeted for vulnerabilities. 

One common, (and rising) threat comes in the form of “ransomware.” And this kind of malware can be very costly to resolve, but very affordable to prevent. 

Keep reading to learn more about ransomware, what it is, how it occurs, and how you can prevent it. 

If you’re looking for quality network protection by IT experts with over 20 years of industry experience, reach out to us at Waterdog Computer Works. Our professional IT services are customized to your business’s specific needs. We offer full-service IT solutions so that you can focus on building your business. Connect with us today to see how we can help protect your business from security threats like ransomware. 

What Is Ransomware? 

 

Ransomware is a specific kind of malware, and perhaps, the most expensive to a business owner. 

Two years ago in 2019, the city of Baltimore was hit by a ransomware attack that cost around $18 million to remedy. 

The Path To Ransomware Attacks


Typically, the path to infection is the same. First, a ransomware attacker attempts to breach a network. Then, the virus begins to encrypt sensitive data at an exponential rate. Once encryption begins, the individual or organization behind the attack will demand that the victim make a payment to save their data. 

Encrypting data essentially allows the perpetrator to lock the owner out of their own information and files. The only way to regain access to encrypted data is by having access to a key. 

These keys have different levels of difficulty to crack. Some are 128-bits, while others are 256-bit. All this means is that the higher the amount of bits, the harder it is to find the correct key combination. 

But, for reference, a 256-bit key can potentially take millions of years to crack through trial-and-error from entering in possible combinations. The length of time would depend on the kind of algorithm you use to create the encryption, but you get the idea. 

Ransomware, no matter the kind of key an attacker is using, is an overwhelming challenge for businesses, individuals, and even our country’s government. 

Because although attackers usually target larger organizations for a bigger payout, that doesn’t mean you’re safe from potential ransomware attacks.

What’s worse, is that if you find yourself dealing with a ransomware attack, there is no guarantee you will regain access to your data. Some individuals simply will not restore your files even if you pay their ransom. 

So protecting yourself and your business from ransomware through preventive solutions is crucial. 

Want peace of mind from knowing that your business network is protected from ransomware? Our experienced technicians at Waterdog Computer Works can set up high-performing cyber security solutions. 

How It Occurs

 

Ransomware may find its way onto your network through various methods. 

Most commonly, perhaps, is through phishing emails. Luckily for our clients, Waterdog provides phishing training for our clients’ employees. Have peace of mind knowing that your business and employees will be well versed in the red flags of phishing emails. Furthermore, we will implement protocols to report suspicious emails without causing your company harm.

A phishing email is an email that, once opened, attempts to steal a user’s personal information like credit card numbers or login credentials. Most of the time, a phishing email will contain a link or attachment inside designed to trick the user into clicking. A scammer will pose as a well-known company or otherwise trusted organization. A common salutation of phishing emails mimics the phrase: “Dear valued customer.” Subject lines often contain phrases like, “Restore your account” or mention talks about an offer you never signed up for. If the email comes from an otherwise reputable company, graphics and logos may look off or wrong. And grammatical errors or strange characters will make up the emails body.


Once a user clicks a phishing email link, or downloads its attachment, their device becomes infected. After infection, ransomware begins to locate files and data, as well as attempt to spread across vulnerable networks. 

Then, encryption begins. Ransomware attackers also often threaten to delete a victim’s data permanently unless the victim pays the ransom. 

Although phishing emails are the most common way ransomware infects a device or network, you can become infected through a variety of methods, including: 

  • Social media links
  • Installing programs from suspicious websites
  • Plugging in an infected USB drive

How To Prevent Ransomware 

 

One way to prevent ransomware is by not opening or clicking on links in emails that seem untrustworthy. Whether the grammar is incorrect or the company’s logo seems illegitimate. 

However, sometimes it can be difficult to know fully if an email is dangerous or not. Some malware can be very deceptive. 

So while letting your business team know about phishing emails and reminding them of the dangers of computer viruses is one step, it’s rarely enough. Or wise to leave your network unprotected. 

We all know how important it is to keep our personal information safe. But hackers have effective strategies for getting someone to reveal information. 

Backing up your data frequently can also be a good way to protect yourself from ransomware. However, backing up data is a way to restore your system to a previous state once you suspect a ransomware attack has begun. Backing up your data does not prevent ransomware. It only helps you respond to the issue. 

In the end, the best way to prevent ransomware is by integrating cybersecurity. 

Cyber Security Solutions From Industry Experts


One of the worst things you can experience as a business owner is a cyber attack. You lose money, time, and potentially, trust from your clients or customers. Resolving ransomware can be quite costly depending on the data they have taken from you. 

And while the virus moves quickly to encrypt your data, the time you may have to spend restoring your information and getting back on track is a significant loss. 

You’ll lose money from paying the ransom. But you’ll also lose money from clients if they feel that they can no longer do business with you if your network is unprotected. 

Schedule a consultation with us at Waterdog Computer Works. It’s our mission to bring business owners like yourself the peace of mind that comes from having fully integrated cybersecurity. 

Because if you aren’t choosing to prevent ransomware, someday, you may only have the choice of paying for it.