When ransomware lands on your systems, your work life is likely to take a sudden and very precipitous nose dive. Between not being able to use your system or your data files and being told that you only have so much time — maybe 72 hours — to pay up or lose access forever, you’ll end up having to make some fairly quick decisions and likely hoping afterwards that you did the right thing.

What exactly is ransomware?

Ransomware is a variety of malicious software that locks up your system or encrypts your files and then demands that a payment be made before the operation will be reversed. And, unfortunately, it’s becoming more common and much more sophisticated. In the more advanced attacks, mid- and senior-level executives are now being targeted. In fact, the perpetrators often do enough research on their victims to make themselves appear to be more legitimate. They often take the time to learn people’s proper names, titles, areas of specialization, etc. Any boost to the perpetrator’s credibility will make it more likely that the intended targets see the attack as a legitimate request and act on it.

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