When you think of ransomware, you may think back to one of the largest cyberattacks this year, the WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack. In May of this year, the massive attack hit 200,000 computers impacting banks, law enforcement, and hospitals across the globe. In this case, computers powered by Microsoft Windows who did not install a software update, were hit by hackers.
The WannaCry attack is not an isolated incident. We continue to see more ransomware attacks reported and it looks like the frequency of attacks is estimated to increase. Over the past weekend, a hacker hit the Sacramento, CA Regional Transit and put malware into the system, which deleted 30 million files. The organization took down the website and credit card system down as a precaution, and did not pay the ransom of $7,000 in bitcoins requested on the transit’s Facebook page . The transit company backed up all files, and was able to restore the data that was deleted.
Even if a company doesn’t end up paying a ransom, the attack can have a financial impact on a business. A ransomware attack can take away from the normal course of business and may mean a loss of productivity. A company could have expenses like a forensic investigation, restoration of deleted data, or even employee training needed as a result of the attack. That is why one recent report predicts ransomware damages will cost the world $5 billion this year and $11.5 billion in 2019.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the increase is driven by a frequency in attacks. This year ransomware is estimated to attack a business every 40 seconds, in 2019, the rate will increase to every 14 seconds. While ransomware can impact all industries, healthcare organizations are expected to be a targeted industry, with attacks in this field, expected to quadruple by 2020.