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How To Protect Your Business From Cyber Extortion

Updated: Jan 15

Table of Contents

  • What Is Cyber Extortion

  • How Can Cyber Extortion Affect My Business?

  • Steps To Help Protect Against Cyber Extortion

  • Key Takeaways

  • Conclusion

  • FAQs


What Is Cyber Extortion?

A cyberattack or threat of an attack combined with a demand for money or another response in exchange for preventing or resolving the attack constitutes cyber extortion.


Attackers using cyber-extortion attempt to access a company's systems in order to find vulnerable areas or valuable targets. The most popular method of cyberextortion is ransomware, which is used by cybercriminals to demand money. Additionally, they use distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, steal sensitive business information, and make threats to reveal it.


A hacker hacked a company and got ransom in return, a ransomware attack
If you become a victim of a ransomware attack, it can drain you of dollars!

How Can Cyber Extortion Affect My Business?

Every industry, size of business, and nation is impacted uniformly by cyber extortion. Professional services like those provided by lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, the public sector, manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and finance have been some of the industries targeted by cybercriminals the most in 2020. Cyber extortion can affect any company that relies on email, open data storage systems, or communication.


A company is more likely to pay the ransom to cybercriminals the more expensive the website's downtime is. The company in question would, however, be added to the criminals' list of ransom payers by simply paying the ransom. This implies that over time, the businesses that give in and pay the ransom will almost certainly continue to be targeted and suffer financial losses as a result.


Depending on the type of business you operate, reputational damage due to data breaches can cause you to lose clients and experience a decline in sales until you can win back their trust.


If you don’t have appropriate security measures and become a victim of these attacks, you will have to pay heavy bills. Staff overtime, lost revenue, and other indirect costs will also be included in the calculation of half of the costs. Later, the organization would spend more money on technology upgrades and employee awareness programs.


Last but not least, failure to implement appropriate security measures in the wake of any kind of cyber-threat can lead to fines and regulatory sanctions.



Steps To Help Protect Against Cyber Extortion

Cyber extortionists are always looking for new opportunities to threaten victims and exploit vulnerabilities. As a result, businesses must be vigilant in their attempts to stop these exploits.


Organizations must implement effective cyber defenses to lower the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime. The following are some top recommendations for lowering the risk of cyberextortion:


Know the data that your company has, and know how deep you are in.

You can’t fully anticipate the danger until you know the type and volume of data you have.


Train your employees regularly and not just until something happens.

Teach staff members how to spot spear phishing. To assist in limiting the risk to the company, it is essential that all workers understand the value of safeguarding the information they frequently handle.


Perform employee background checks.

Employee background checks can reveal whether they have a criminal history.


Create a backup of everything.

Create bandwidth capabilities backups, data backups, and file backups. In the event of extortion, this will assist your business in keeping your information safe.


Limit system and social footprint administrative power.

The fewer the number of employees who have access to private and crucial data, the better.


Get tools for preventing data breaches, such as intrusion detection.

Make sure employees are actually keeping an eye on the detection equipment. It is crucial to not only work to prevent breaches but also to make sure that the business is made aware of them as soon as they happen.


Establish a strategy for handling a data breach.

There should be a clear protocol stating which employees are a part of the incident response team and their responsibilities in the event of a breach.


Consistently apply security software patches.

Your operating system's security safeguards must be regularly maintained if you want them to continue working over time.


Check that system have the proper firewall and antivirus software.

Check the security settings on software, browsers, and email programs after installing the necessary software. Choose system features that will satisfy your business needs while reducing risk during this process.


Integrate DDoS security tools.

It's crucial to resist or withstand assaults intended to overwhelm or weaken your systems.


Invest in insurance coverage that covers cyber risks to safeguard your company.

The cost of data breaches and extortion events is typically covered by cyber insurance coverage. Access to qualified professionals who can oversee the event from beginning to end is another benefit of choosing the right insurance plan.



Key Takeaways


  • Cyber extortion is one of the most damaging types of cybercrime. This type of threat is especially dangerous for businesses that don't have a proper cyber and information security policy, or if their employees are not trained to protect sensitive data.

  • Cyber extortion is a type of cybercrime that typically consists of an attacker blackmailing their victims with a threat that they will attack their company’s computer systems unless they receive a ransom payment.

  • The most popular method of cyber extortion is ransomware, which is used by cybercriminals to demand money. Additionally, they use distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, steal sensitive business information, and make threats to reveal it.

  • To fight off cyber extortion, companies must educate employees about data security and the company's risk exposure.

  • They must also invest in robust cyber security tools that can detect, prevent, and respond to these threats.

  • If you have become a victim of attempted cyber extortion, contact your IT provider for help and for tips on how to protect your business against future attacks.


Conclusion

Cyber extortion isn't just a problem in the United States. Across the globe, businesses of all sizes are affected by this type of crime and have become increasingly vulnerable to these types of attacks. Although most businesses are not targeted, the attacks are getting worse.


The most important thing to remember is that while it may not seem like you're in danger, cyber extortion is significant in the time it takes to recover from an attack. In order to protect your business from this type of cyber attack, you need to have an effective cyber defense strategy in place. The best way to prevent cyber extortion is to have an effective cyber defense plan in place that is tailored to your company's needs.


Business owners who’ve been targeted by cybercriminals and don’t know who to turn to for help may find it difficult to get funding for those costs. As a result of this, it’s important for business owners to invest in a robust data protection solution and distribute it across the company.


Cyber extortionists are always looking for new opportunities to threaten victims and exploit vulnerabilities. As a result, businesses must be vigilant in their attempts to stop these exploits. Organizations must implement effective cyber defenses to lower the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.


FAQs


Q. Should victims of cyber extortion fulfill demands?

Paying a ransom has the clear advantage of allowing access to vital data and systems. Even though the ransom is expensive, rebuilding files or systems can cost much more and take a lot of time.


The FBI opposes paying criminals a ransom. According to the intelligence agency, doing so would encourage attackers to target other organizations, inspire additional criminal activity, and provide funding for it. Additionally, paying the ransom does not ensure that a victim's files will be returned. Instead, the FBI advises victims to contact their regional FBI offices or the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center to report ransomware threats.


Q. What is the cost of cyber extortion?

The total ransom paid by victims of cybercrime in 2020 was close to $350 million, a 311% increase from the previous year. According to a 2021 Global Market Report, businesses could lose up to $600 billion as a result of cybercrime.


Q. What distinguishes ransomware from online extortion?

Extortionists threaten to make the information they have collected public, in contrast to ransomware, which forces the company to pay up or lose access to the stolen data. This frequently puts the company under pressure to comply, increasing the likelihood that the victim will abide by the extortion demands.


Q. How does online extortion take place?

Cybercriminals who threaten to shut down a target company's operations or compromise its private information are engaging in cyber extortion. Ransomware and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are the two most popular forms of cyber extortion.


We hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any questions or concerns about cyber security, we are always excited to help you at iBovi Strategic Security. You can subscribe to our email list and get more such insights and important news and updates!

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