A recent report by Kaspersky Lab, (‘RANSOM-WHAT? A study on consumers’ awareness of ransomware ‘) shows that 43percent of P.C users (includes other vulnerable devices) in the U.S and Canada surveyed are unaware of the threat. It also shows that 44 percent have no idea that data could be stolen or compromised in such exploits. Of the 4 000 U.S and 1 000 Canadian users (aged 16+) the survey asked, only 16 percent both recognized the malware and were concerned about it, compared with other users who were more concerned with trojans, spyware and viruses.
No negotiation with the hostage takers
Only 13 percent of the ‘millenial’ generation – assumed to be more technically astute – claimed to being worried about ransomware, and many respondents admitted they wouldn’t know how to deal with an attack. Kaspersky’s survey showed 15 and 17 percent of Americans and Canadians respectively think that simply turning a mobile device off, or unplugging their computer would stop the attack. The percentage of people without any knowledge of how to confront an attack was shown to increase exponentially with age: 37 percent aged 16 – 34 rising to 54 percent aged over 55. A small percentage even thought that they the best way to deal with ransomware was by negotiating with the hackers (9 percent). There have been cases reported where some victims have managed to touch a sensitive spot with the criminals, and as a result had the ransom decreased. But these are very isolated instances, and some payment still had to be made.
“Ransomware is an epidemic”
This is the observation of Ryan Naraine, head of Kaspersky Global Resarch. He calls for increased “consumer awareness about ransomware” and calls for better self-defence in an age where most people keep all their details and credentials integral for day-to-day life on devices. “Consumers today must not only learn about ransomware, but also use solutions to protect themselves against it“, he insists.
Learning from daylight economics
“24% of respondents said that paying a ransom to access the files could stop the cybercriminals from continuing to take hold of a digital device“, says page 8 of the report. This proposal is from (surveyed) users from a continent whose ethos and financial system are founded on free-trade and global marketing. They should be aware of the economics – where there is profit, there will be market expansion.
Naraine summarizes – “Learning how to protect yourself against it is so simple and necessary, especially if the data is of great value to you. If you value your personal data – protect it.”
Harden-up security. Backup files regularly. Do NOT pay the hostage takers!