The Rise & Cost of Ransomware [Weekly Cybersecurity Brief]

Ransomware may be just one type of attack that cybercriminals can use to compromise an organization, but it is increasingly one of the most common. As described at NJ.com by Jackie Roman, “Hackers use ransomware to encrypt data and render it useless until an online payment, or ransom, is made to regain access.” Experiencing such an event can be costly in multiple ways. In addition to creating financial stress, it can disrupt important operations.

A school district in New Jersey just learned first-hand the kind of effects that can come from a ransomware attack. Tenafly Public Schools was forced to re-organize its final exam strategy in the wake of a breach carried out on its computer system. Details around who initiated the incident or how much money they requested have not been determined. However, it has been confirmed that the attack “involved the encryption of data by ransomware on some computers in the district’s network,” according to the NJ.com report. The school district is currently working with cybersecurity consultants to sort out the situation.

The Tenafly case is an example of a much larger issue. Ransomware is a threat to fields across the board, including business. Inc. shares that ransomware attacks on companies have increased by one-third in the past year. A recent survey of 1,456 cybersecurity professionals revealed that 68% of those that paid a ransom demand as a result ended up being impacted by another attack within a month. Such events have led some to shut down or lay off employees.

The decision to cut personnel was one topic addressed at this year’s RSA Conference. Despite the growth in ransomware and cybersecurity companies dealing with it, some organizations have made the call to downsize staff. This is potentially due to “the plunge in tech stocks and freezing of the IPO market,” as explained by Ari Levy and Jordan Novet at CNBC. Although this state has leaders re-evaluating their structure, the need for cybersecurity is not slowing down. Considering factors like ransomware, the cybersecurity market is predicted to reach nearly $375 billion a year by 2028.

Key Takeaways:

“Final exams canceled in N.J. school district after ransomware attack cripples computers” – Jackie Roman, NJ.com
https://www.nj.com/education/2022/06/final-exams-canceled-in-nj-school-district-after-cyber-attack-cripples-computers.html

  • Tenafly Public Schools was forced to re-organize its final exam strategy in the wake of a breach carried out on its computer system.
  • Details around who initiated the incident or how much money they requested have not been determined.
  • The school district is currently working with cybersecurity consultants to sort out the situation.

“Ransomware Attacks Are Surging. Is Your Cybersecurity Up to Date?” – Rebecca Deczynski, Inc.

https://www.inc.com/rebecca-deczynski/ransomware-attacks-increasing-cyber-security-advice.html

  • Ransomware attacks on companies have increased by one-third in the past year.
  • A recent survey of 1,456 cybersecurity professionals revealed that 68% of those that paid a ransom demand as a result ended up being impacted by another attack within a month.
  • Such events have led some to shut down or lay off employees.

“Job cuts hit cybersecurity industry despite surging growth from ransomware attacks” – Ari Levy & Jordan Novet, CNBC
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/10/job-cuts-hit-cybersecurity-firms-despite-surging-growth-from-attacks.html

  • Despite growth in demand, some companies are downsizing cybersecurity related staff.
  • Tech stock price drops and impacts on the IPO market may be contributing to this.
  • However, the cybersecurity market is still predicted to reach nearly $375 billion a year by 2028.
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