If you own or operate a business or value your position at your current job then this is the one mistake that could really cost you. Hackers have started requiring an average of over $1000 for the ransom demand to release your valuable files after a ransomeware attack. In 2016, the average ransom demand to free computers hit with the infection rose to $1,077, up from $294 the year before, according to security firm Symantec. Cyber criminals are either getting greedier or they are just realizing the value in their scams. Either way, if you are unsure if you are protected, you need to contact us immediately. 

Ransomeware is a form of computer virus that installs itself covertly and then encrypts all your valuable data such as files, photos, etc. and requires a payment before that data is released. It’s basically like being robbed at gunpoint from your desk. There are so many different forms of ransomeware out there but the payment is always the end goal. The number of attacks has even increased by almost 40% from the year before, and about 35% of all those attacks are happening in the United States, so this IS a valid threat to you and your business. 

Some experts are considering the option of not paying the ransom demand and weighing the options of that. Depending on which files are held captive by the malware, it may be faster and possibly cheaper to pay the demand rather than the time and money it would cost to restore those files. Paying to get your files back, however, does not remove the malware from your computer so that must be your next step. (We can help with that). Also, if you have already paid the ransomeware, it is very likely that you will be targeted again since you paid up without question. Cybercriminals will now be aware that your industry is susceptible to this type of scam and they will absolutely try again. Next time that ransom demand amount is going to be a lot higher as well. 

The best option here is to make sure that you are not putting your business in the position to decide if you should actually pay the ransom or not. Make sure your system is secure and you have good back ups so if you do get infected you can easily restore those files. Let one of our IT consultants evaluate your network security and set up a back up system for your company. Don’t get stuck with $1000 ransom fee just because you were uninformed. Share this article with a fellow business associate who could use this information. Then you two can go spend your hard earned money on a nice dinner instead of funding a cybercriminal. 

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