Ransomware a growing data threat

A Canadian university has paid hackers to restore access to data they had turned into the digital equivalent of gibberish.

Are You Safe From Hackers?

Are You Safe From Hackers?

The University of Calgary transferred 20,000 Canadian dollars-worth of bitcoins ($15,780; £10,840) after it was unable to unwind damage caused by a type of attack known as ransomware.

The malware caused emails and other files to become encrypted.
One expert warned that the payout would encourage further blackmail attempts.
The move comes the same week Intel warned that ransomware infections were spreading at “an alarming rate”.
More than 120 separate strains exist, many of which are frequently updated, making it difficult for security experts to offer a solution.
“It’s very tempting for organisations to pay out the ransom because that might be the only way they can get their data back, but that makes it worse for everyone else because it encourages more people to set up schemes like the one used in the Calgary case,” commented Dr Steven Murdoch from University College London.
“It would be better if nobody ever paid, although that’s unrealistic to expect. What’s making matters worse is a new trend. The hackers are threatening to publicly publish information they found on your computers if you refuse to pay, which acts as a double incentive to comply.”

If you want advice on this growing threat, call Astec to discuss how to define and implement staff processes to keep your data secure.

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