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When a business is a victim of ransomware

Ransomware attacks are a type of cyber attack involving the use of malware that encodes data to keep the possessor of the data from being able to access it. This is generally followed by a ransom demand in which the victim is told that they will have to make certain payments in order to get their data back.

A recent IBM study points to spam emails containing ransomware being quite common this year. Reportedly, of all spam emails this year, around 40 percent had ransomware in them. Also, the number of ransomware-containing spam emails was remarkably higher in 2016 than it was in 2015.

Ransomware attacks can target both individuals and companies. Being subjected to a ransomware attack can have considerable impacts on a business. This is among the reasons why good cyber security practices are so critical for businesses.

How do companies tend to respond when they are victims of a ransomware attack? The above-mentioned study indicates that most opt to pay the ransom. The study found that, among business victims, around 70 percent chose to pay the ransom. It wasn’t uncommon for the ransom paid by businesses to be in the realm of tens of thousands of dollars.

One wonders what impacts this high level of paying ransom among business victims is having on the prevalence of ransomware attacks. One could see how ransom demands being met might embolden cyber attackers.

Now, when a business is the victim of such an attack, it might fear there is no way to get back its data beyond paying the ransom. However, depending on the situation, there may be other options available. So, it can be very important for business victims of ransomware attacks to understand their options for responding to the attack.

It can also be important for such businesses to understand their options in the legal fallout that can come from such attacks. Making missteps regarding legal disputes that come up with customers or other parties out of such an attack could lead to the attack having much deeper business implications than it had to. So, when a business has been a victim of ransomware or some other cyber threat, it may want a skilled attorney’s help in handling the legal matters stemming from the incident.

Sources: CNBC, “Ransomware spiked 6,000% in 2016 and most victims paid the hackers, IBM finds,” Harriet Taylor, Dec. 14, 2016

Forbes, “70% Of Executives Caved In To Ransomware Demands,” Lee Mathews, Dec. 15, 2016

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