In the increasingly digital age, cybercrime poses a greater threat to businesses than ever before. When engaging in online business, there is always the risk for cybercrime.
CryptoLocker became a well-known ransomware after being unleashed on September 5, 2013. The attack continued to spread through email attachments until the end of May 2014. The malware functioned by displaying a message which required users to pay a ransom in order to unencrypt data. The ransomware threatened that if the user did not pay the ransom, the data would be deleted. Once a deadline passed, the ransomware would increase the ransom. There was not a guarantee that if the user paid the demanded ransom, the data would be unencrypted. CryptoLocker is thought to have infected over 200,000 systems and caused as much as $3 million in damage.
Peyta is different from most ransomware because it locks victims’ entire systems and requires a ransom to reopen them. The main attack took place in 2016 and largely impacted businesses in Ukraine, although infections were also found in Russia, Europe, North America, and Australia. About 150 organizations in Ukraine and fewer than 50 in the United States were victims. Peyta is successful at infecting devices because it uses the EternalBlue exploit which was created by the United States’ NSA.
WannaCry ransomware is considered among the most threatening in the world. Like Peyta, WannaCry utilizes the EternalBlue exploit to infect systems. WannaCry is believed to have originated in North Korea. In May 2017, WannaCry infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries in one day. It continued to infect 10,000 devices every hour for four days until the attack was stopped. Major companies such as FedEx, Honda, Hitachi, and Renault were targeted in addition to other institutions including, but not limited to, the University of Montreal and the UK’s National Health Service. WannaCry demanded payments of $300 in bitcoin to unencrypt users data. This increased to $600 if the fine was not paid before a certain deadline. While WannaCry successfully obtained over $130,000 in bitcoin ransom payments, Cyence, a cyber risk modeling firm, estimated the attack cost as much as $4 billion. WannaCry has forced Microsoft to release patches that eliminate the EternalBlue exploit.
Emotet is a type of trojan managed by the cybercriminal organization Mealybug. Mealybug’s business model used to be based off of updating malware which infiltrates banking information, email information, stored passwords, and other data on individuals. Recently it has changed focus to distributing the malware.
Cybercriminals use various means to infiltrate victims’ devices. While technology continues to develop, business owners should remain vigilant for anything that appears suspicious. Preparation, in the form of obtaining a quality Cyber Insurance Policy for their company is perhaps the most important action a business owner can take immediately. This way, if their business is the target of a cyber attack, there will be avenues available for dealing with loss, legal fees and other costs associated with recovery from such an attack.
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