Cybercrimes are on the rise, and one of the most popular types of cyberattacks come in the form of ransomware. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, global ransomware costs are forecast to reach $20 billion by 2021 with its attacks to occur every 11 seconds. These numbers alone reveal an incredibly complicated issue that requires a lot of attention.
What is ransomware
Ransomware is malicious software that locks access to user’s files or even the device. Then, the attacker demands an anonymous payment to unlock the files and/or the device, usually via a pop-up message on the screen of an infected computer or mobile phone. This type of malware is installed through the links in an email message, instant message, website, or a file. Even if paid, the final decision whether to restore access to data is in the hands of an attacker. If this is not damaging enough, the attackers are using new ways to increase pressure to pay a ransom. They not only lock the files but also steal data with threats of exposing it.
Anyone can become a victim of ransomware, including companies that are more vulnerable as they have older security systems, small security teams, etc. However, organizations that can’t afford to lose access to the data are the most targeted because they are the most willing to pay. These include banks, medical institutions, government bodies, and other types of entities with sensitive data.
How to prevent a ransomware attack
Multiple options are available for individuals and organizations to use to prevent ransomware today.
- An up-to-date anti-virus program and operating system may seem like an obvious choice, but it can be effective to stop the attacks from happening.
- Backup files on external hard drive or cloud to ensure that even if your device gets infected with a virus, you will have a copy of your data to restore.
- Do not download or open email attachments and files from suspicious or unknown sources.
Meanwhile, there is a possible way to stop ransomware attacks altogether. Ironically, cryptocurrency, the very thing that the attackers demand to be paid with, gave birth to the solution — blockchain technology.
Blockchain as an all-in-one solution
Blockchain addresses multiple ransomware risks at once, so it can be considered an all-in-one solution. Compared to traditional data storage, it features several significant advantages.
No one can restrict your access to your data. Unlike centralized networks, blockchains don’t have a single point of failure, as its participants have copies of the ledger. As long as its on the blockchain network, you will have access to your data, no matter what happens to particular participants.
Your data can’t be altered. Blockchain is immutable, so the information stored on it can’t be changed. If the data does get compromised, it can be restored to a previous version.
Encrypted by default. All the information stored on blockchain is encrypted by default. It’s an integral part of the technology. No one could access your data without your consent.
These decentralized data storage solutions are already available, and the market is growing. But even now, it costs less than traditional cloud storage: as of today, the average price for 1 TB plan is around $5-7 per month.
Now, the question remains: will we adopt the already available tech that has clear advantages over the one that is widely used today? If we continue to use old products and services that simply don’t protect our data, we will continue to pay ransom for our files, the ransomware threats will only get worse with more people’s data being infected, higher payment demands, and more. This would indicate that we need more than just technological solutions, but a bigger concern for better security measures and a change in mindset on how to deal with cybercrimes that are yet to come.