Myths and facts about ‘ransomware’ or data hijacking

He ‘ransomware’Or data extortion, perhaps the most well-known cyber attack today. ColombiaThis concept is not far-fetched Cyber ​​attacks Both government and private sector organizations have been affected in recent times.

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According to Veeam’s Ransomware Trends Report 2023 Americas edition, 85% of companies experienced cyber attacks, and 14% of companies in Latin America were unable to recover their data after paying a ransom.

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Although ‘ransomware’ has become popular and relevant recently, the truth is that, in reality, This ‘modus operandi’ is older than it appears.

The first attack using this method occurred in Belgium in 1989 Eddie WillemsThe man, who was working in an insurance company at the time, had received an order from his employer Check what’s on the floppy disk he received from the World Health Organization (WHO)..

At that time he was asked to pass on a message sent to him while he was awaiting a medical investigation into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a virus that had recently emerged. $189 dollars To an address in Panama, to open said information.

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Because the malware was relatively simple to circumvent, Willems recovered rather than pay or lose data. Joseph Popp, author of Attempted Fraud and a biologist by professionAfter sending more than 20,000 floppy disks (via regular mail) with ransomware, he was jailed and tried on multiple charges.

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In his defense, the scientist claimed he did it to donate money to AIDS research, but this could never be proven.

As explained Tomás Tacoba, Veeam Marketing Director for Latin America,”The difference lies in the level of ransomware, the scary business it represents, the masculinization the Internet facilitates, the enormous range of connected devices (and growing), and the sheer volume of sensitive data moving between platforms and clouds. Criminal teams dedicated to cybercrime have proven tenure and superior expertise“.

Tomás Tacoba, Veeam Marketing Director for Latin America


Likewise, the expert suggested starting to educate about this situation, dismissing the many rumors about this type of cyber attack.

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First Myth: You must pay the ransom to avoid losing your data.

Fact: Data is the engine of organizations. An organization can more easily sustain downtime in applications rather than being crippled by its lack of information, especially critical to running day-to-day operations on track. Hackers know this and they certainly take advantage of it, but the truth is that paying doesn’t guarantee that your data will be recovered.

However, this contrasts with the drop in payments: according to Chainalysis1, while victims paid US$765.6 million to cybercriminals in 2021, the figure fell by 40.3% to US$456.8 million in 2022, indicating that other avenues are being found. the situation.

Second Myth: Lack of network monitoring is a major catalyst for attacks

Fact: According to the expert, attackers believe in the fact that no one is watching them, and with the economic incentive that ransomware has, they invest any time in networks to learn how companies defend themselves and implement small changes. To see how the ID part responds.

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Veeam reports that ransomware continues to be a key entry point even with the widespread knowledge and awareness of enterprise security professionals. Phishing emails.

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Third Myth: A threat detection solution is sufficient to stop Ransomware.

Fact: Technology can provide a backup to avoid falling victim to this type of attack, but, according to Tokoba, it cannot ignore the presence on both sides of the line of fire: attackers use encryption, paradoxically designed to protect sensitive data. Maintain captured data.

Relying on threat detection to manage risks and minimize the impact of an attack is right, but it may not be enough, according to the expert. The strategy must be based on robust, automated, organized and intelligent backup and recovery technologies that address today’s complex end-to-end hybrid environments, recovery to new locations and continuous backup management.

Myth Four: It cannot be assumed that all companies will be attacked at some point

Reality: Everything indicates that this could be the case, especially for big companies, which are a prime target for hackers. When Veeam compares the results of its annual reports, it is clear that companies that initially said they were not attacked by ransomware were eventually affected.

According to the company’s report, there has been a decrease in the number of ransomware attacks since 2019 compared to today, as ransomware continues to become more sophisticated and more precise attack methods have come to replace “spread and pray” practices. “, from the past. The best security, according to the expert, is maintaining best practices like secure backup.

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In a recent study by Welivesecurity2, 63% of organizations plan to increase their spending on cyber security in the next 12 months, with a special focus on technology, auditing, prevention and training.


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