While email clients may require a little more work to run, they also allow for more control over user data. In other words, only you control your emails, and third-parties have no access to them unless you purposefully – or accidentally – allow it. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all study participants for their invaluable contribution to this research. We realize some questions may have brought back emotions experienced by victims during attacks; we would like to thank you for your bravery and willingness to tell your story.
We assert that private organizations need to recognize this vulnerability and ‘up their game’ in the security realm. Clearly, such extravagant amounts would have a more severe effect on an organization than, e.g. the typical £300–500 ransom. In our own sample, one small IT company was asked to pay 75 bitcoins (approximate value £ at the time of the attack), a ransom amount the victim could not afford to pay. After intense negotiations, hackers agreed to reduce the ransom amount to 65 bitcoins, but it was still too high for VirtOrgD. The victim had no choice but to recover from partial backups. In the first stages of recovery the management was not sure if the business was going to survive this attack as the VirtOrgD was rapidly losing its customer base. Through tremendous efforts of staff and with the help of external specialists, VirtOrgD managed to restore its business, although, inevitably, some substantial losses occurred.
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We would like to acknowledge the relentless commitment of police officers from UK Regional Cybercrime Units in providing data and advising on study results. Please note that the views expressed in this work are ours alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the participants, the commentators or the funding body. As ransomware attacks continue to hurt businesses around the globe, our results convey several important messages. First, we urge organizations of all sizes, small, medium and large, to strengthen their security posture. Secondly, we specifically stress that the vulnerabilities of private companies to ransomware attacks must be realized and addressed.
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It is very important that other organizations learn from MoboMarket download your experiences. Special thanks to Robert McArdle, the Director of Cybercrime Research Team at Trend Micro, who provided expert advice on technical measures against crypto-ransomware attacks.
- It also includes end to end encryption and Secure PDF encryption.
- DeliverySlip provides an advanced control panel for end users to manage their encrypted emails.
- Admin’s can set custom policies, which decide which emails must be encrypted.
- This involves sending emails as PDF document which cannot be opened by anyone but the intended recipient.
- With DeliverySlip, users can track when a message has been received, read, replied to or forwarded.
All of these factors inevitably make ransomware attacks ever so painful, while hackers are persistently doing their homework on potential victims; and this is why targeted attacks hit even harder. Our research findings demonstrate that several factors, including ‘organization sector’, ‘security posture’ and ‘attack type’, influence the degree of severity of ransomware attacks. More specifically, within our sample, private organizations were more likely to experience severe consequences compared to public ones. Interestingly, public organizations investigated in this study had considerably stronger security postures than those in the private sector.
Offenders are aware of their dependency on data and systems and take advantage of it. Thirdly, we conclude that the strength of ransomware is not in its technical capabilities and rapid evolution; rather, it lies within relentlessness of hackers who are persistently searching for a range of weaknesses within organizations. Security holes are widely exploited by perpetrators, but hackers also understand the sentimental value organizations may have to their owners who possibly spent a lifetime building their business (e.g. LogOrgD case).
Private organizations typically operate to generate profit and any interruptions to services can cause grave damage to them. Public organizations, on the contrary, are funded by the government to serve the public. Subsequently, financial implications are not always relevant to them.
Similarly, another company was asked to pay 100 bitcoins (approximate value of £ at the time of the attack). ITOrgJL was able to negotiate the ransom down to 15 bitcoins and effectively recovered with a decryption key provided by hackers. An Executive Manager from EducInstFB, a large public organization, shared with us that a Generation III.a crypto-ransomware encrypted hundreds of machines . As a result, several critical business functions were disabled and important data were inaccessible.