The threat of ransomware: a reality more than obvious in 2020

According to the French agency for information systems security, ANSSI, ransomware is "the most serious threat. ».

And for good reason, we remember that very recently Bouygues Construction, the French construction giant was the victim of a computer attack based on this kind of malware. Over time, the most significant damage to computer attacks over the past 20 years has been caused by ransomware-type programs.

This article will also interest you: Computer hacking and scam: a company that pays ransoms in ransomware attacks by pretending to decipher encrypted data by its own means has been unmasked.

As a reminder, the ransomware is a malicious computer program. Malicious first of all because it was designed to damage information systems. This program has the particularity of taking hostage the contents of a computer system or terminal, making it inaccessible to the main user in order to demand payment of a ransom in exchange for the possibility of being able to access the desired content. In the early days, hackers simply displayed a blank page where they demanded a specific ransom payment to their victims. Today the practice has evolved because they are used to encrypting the maximum number of documents belonging to their victim which will be of course the source of their blackmail. However, it must be admitted that it is not just that. Hackers are becoming more interested in businesses, not just any. Indeed, if cybercriminals used to opt for SMEs, today large companies, more particularly multinational firms seem to produce more interest for them. One of the reasons for this is that the larger the company, the more sensitive documents it has.

According to a study reported by Symantec, individuals experienced fewer ransomware attacks last year. However, for businesses, there was a 12% increase at this level. In addition, the cybersecurity firm confirmed that cybercriminals are increasingly attracted to these "financially robust and high-earning" companies.

And it pays off because hackers have managed to extract tens of millions of dollars from their victim. Immediate consequences, we then see immersed a certain form of insurance of cyber risk, or specialized companies that will serve as intermediaries between hackers and their victims. "Today, insurance companies encourage victims to pay the ransom, which is often less than the cost of restoring the business without the use of the decryption key. This incentive to pay validates the business model of cybercriminals. The National Agency for Security of Information Systems noted in its report.

Moreover, worst of all, cyber criminals have adopted a new method to coerce some of their targets that prove recalcitrant. Indeed, they no longer hesitate to abuse blackmail to be satisfied. And this blackmail will consist of threatening their victim with publishing confidential information on the internet if they do not comply with the payment of the ransom demanded. And unfortunately some companies have already suffered the blows of this deplorable method. We can say that it is in this context that ANSSI notes this last point: "These large amounts combined with the risk of disclosure of internal data make it the ransomware with the greatest potential impact on companies and institutions," notes ANSSI. ».

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