3 Misconceptions About the IoT You’d Be Wise to Ignore| By |John Horn

“Internet of Things” is a term that encompasses an incredibly broad realm of possibilities. Because connected technology can be applied in a multitude of ways across countless industries, this growing — yet nascent — concept is generating a lot of interest and curiosity.

However, with this intrigue comes misconceptions and generalizations that cloud reality. Similar to an old-fashioned game of telephone, one isolated negative incident involving connected technology often ends up getting attributed to the IoT as a whole. And when that happens, businesses jump to conclusions and elect to avoid this potentially beneficial opportunity.

As one of my favorite sayings goes, “We do not fear the unknown. We fear what we think we know about the unknown.”

It’s time to clear up some misconceptions about the IoT that are preventing too many businesses from reaping its rewards. But before we do that, let’s better understand connected technology’s recent history and what its future holds.

Growing Pains

Similar to virtually every technological advancement, the IoT has experienced its fair share of growing pains over the years.

Most notably, early adopters of connected technology endured the costly sunset of 2G. Many business leaders who thought they were making long-term investments in IoT ended up scrapping their efforts altogether because they felt the technology failed them. And now, with 3G on its way out the door, people remain rightfully hesitant to get on board.

However, it’s important to understand that the IoT isn’t some bubble of hype that will one day burst; it’s constantly evolving, and network longevity and device scalability will soon be issues of the past. In fact, Ericcson predicts that IoT-connected devices will outnumber mobile phones by 2018.

Modern companies should view IoT as a necessary development that will inevitably change the industrial world for the better. It’s not just a passing fad.

The Reality of IoT

As it stands today, 57 percent of small businesses expect the IoT to significantly affect their bottom lines. Despite this, a shocking 71 percent fear they’re not yet ready to embrace it. Soon enough, however, there won’t be any other choice — before we know it, the IoT will play a pivotal role in every industry in every country.

Think about how the internet slowly disrupted industries over the past 20 years. Remember Borders bookstores? Instead of building its own web presence, the once-prolific company outsourced its e-commerce efforts to a small business called Amazon. Today, only one of these two entities is still around to tell the tale.

The IoT is the natural next step in the evolution of the internet, but it continues to be plagued by these three big misconceptions:

1. It’s new and unproven. Many company leaders believe IoT hasn’t been around long enough and is, therefore, a risky investment. They’d feel safer working with something that has a proven track record of success.

While “Internet of Things” as a term may be relatively new, the underlying technology and business model has been around for more than a decade, generating tremendous value for all kinds of businesses from all over the world. Connected devices have proven time and time again to be a great asset in aiding small business operations. In fact, a study by Boston Consulting Group found that small businesses that utilize IoT increase their revenue 15 percent faster than those that don’t.

2. Only big, rich companies can play. Another study found that nearly half of all small businesses believe IoT is too costly. These companies believe only large corporations with big budgets are capable of implementing and maintaining a connected infrastructure. While this myth can easily become reality if you choose the wrong partners, it’s worth noting that an IoT deployment doesn’t necessarily need to involve thousands upon thousands of devices and sensors; it can be as large or as small as you’d like it to be.

Further, smaller companies are actually better equipped to leverage IoT-driven opportunities because of their ability to move quickly and pivot when logical. The process of building and deploying an IoT solution when partnered with the right providers is really quite simple, and because small businesses are more flexible than larger ones, accomplishing this is far from arduous.

3. There are too many security risks. Security is a hot topic that seems to be negatively attributed to the IoT in different ways every day. According to one study, nearly 90 percent of IT professionals see connected devices as risky from a security and privacy standpoint, as they open up more chances for attacks on a company.

Simply put, security risks are an issue anytime something is connected to the internet, and these threats are no more omnipresent in companies with IoT technology than those without it. As with any IT endeavor, IoT security should be a top priority for businesses, and it’s easy to incorporate it into your existing security protocols.

Don’t let these misconceptions distract you from reality. The IoT is a viable, inevitable development that is poised to take over the entire industrial world. Those who prepare for it today will be the first ones to disrupt their industries tomorrow — while those who avoid it put themselves on the path to becoming the next Borders.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2bVi6l5

3 Misconceptions About the IoT You’d Be Wise to Ignore| By |John Horn

“Internet of Things” is a term that encompasses an incredibly broad realm of possibilities. Because connected technology can be applied in a multitude of ways across countless industries, this growing — yet nascent — concept is generating a lot of interest and curiosity.

However, with this intrigue comes misconceptions and generalizations that cloud reality. Similar to an old-fashioned game of telephone, one isolated negative incident involving connected technology often ends up getting attributed to the IoT as a whole. And when that happens, businesses jump to conclusions and elect to avoid this potentially beneficial opportunity.

As one of my favorite sayings goes, “We do not fear the unknown. We fear what we think we know about the unknown.”

It’s time to clear up some misconceptions about the IoT that are preventing too many businesses from reaping its rewards. But before we do that, let’s better understand connected technology’s recent history and what its future holds.

Growing Pains

Similar to virtually every technological advancement, the IoT has experienced its fair share of growing pains over the years.

Most notably, early adopters of connected technology endured the costly sunset of 2G. Many business leaders who thought they were making long-term investments in IoT ended up scrapping their efforts altogether because they felt the technology failed them. And now, with 3G on its way out the door, people remain rightfully hesitant to get on board.

However, it’s important to understand that the IoT isn’t some bubble of hype that will one day burst; it’s constantly evolving, and network longevity and device scalability will soon be issues of the past. In fact, Ericcson predicts that IoT-connected devices will outnumber mobile phones by 2018.

Modern companies should view IoT as a necessary development that will inevitably change the industrial world for the better. It’s not just a passing fad.

The Reality of IoT

As it stands today, 57 percent of small businesses expect the IoT to significantly affect their bottom lines. Despite this, a shocking 71 percent fear they’re not yet ready to embrace it. Soon enough, however, there won’t be any other choice — before we know it, the IoT will play a pivotal role in every industry in every country.

Think about how the internet slowly disrupted industries over the past 20 years. Remember Borders bookstores? Instead of building its own web presence, the once-prolific company outsourced its e-commerce efforts to a small business called Amazon. Today, only one of these two entities is still around to tell the tale.

The IoT is the natural next step in the evolution of the internet, but it continues to be plagued by these three big misconceptions:

1. It’s new and unproven. Many company leaders believe IoT hasn’t been around long enough and is, therefore, a risky investment. They’d feel safer working with something that has a proven track record of success.

While “Internet of Things” as a term may be relatively new, the underlying technology and business model has been around for more than a decade, generating tremendous value for all kinds of businesses from all over the world. Connected devices have proven time and time again to be a great asset in aiding small business operations. In fact, a study by Boston Consulting Group found that small businesses that utilize IoT increase their revenue 15 percent faster than those that don’t.

2. Only big, rich companies can play. Another study found that nearly half of all small businesses believe IoT is too costly. These companies believe only large corporations with big budgets are capable of implementing and maintaining a connected infrastructure. While this myth can easily become reality if you choose the wrong partners, it’s worth noting that an IoT deployment doesn’t necessarily need to involve thousands upon thousands of devices and sensors; it can be as large or as small as you’d like it to be.

Further, smaller companies are actually better equipped to leverage IoT-driven opportunities because of their ability to move quickly and pivot when logical. The process of building and deploying an IoT solution when partnered with the right providers is really quite simple, and because small businesses are more flexible than larger ones, accomplishing this is far from arduous.

3. There are too many security risks. Security is a hot topic that seems to be negatively attributed to the IoT in different ways every day. According to one study, nearly 90 percent of IT professionals see connected devices as risky from a security and privacy standpoint, as they open up more chances for attacks on a company.

Simply put, security risks are an issue anytime something is connected to the internet, and these threats are no more omnipresent in companies with IoT technology than those without it. As with any IT endeavor, IoT security should be a top priority for businesses, and it’s easy to incorporate it into your existing security protocols.

Don’t let these misconceptions distract you from reality. The IoT is a viable, inevitable development that is poised to take over the entire industrial world. Those who prepare for it today will be the first ones to disrupt their industries tomorrow — while those who avoid it put themselves on the path to becoming the next Borders.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2bVi6l5

E-commerce Stores as Ransomware Victims – Pay Up or Not?| By |Dan Radak

A few days ago, Trend Micro released a report on the threat or ransomware for the first half of 2016. Among other things, they discovered that ransomware attacks cost enterprises more than $200 million in the first three months alone. They also discovered that new families of ransomware were being introduced more frequently than ever before.

1

In other words, there are more and more types of ransomware being released, making it more difficult than ever to protect oneself from this type of cyber security threat. All in all, it can be said with some certainty that 2016 will be remembered as the year of ransomware.

As far as e-commerce websites are concerned, this year has seen emergence of a particular piece of ransomware that targets Magento websites, called KimcilWare.

Ransomware 101

In order to be able to address the question of whether to pay up or not when “catching” ransomware, it is important to point out a few facts about this kind of malware.

Ransomware does not necessarily have to be an advanced piece of code and in fact, in most cases it is not. It uses the usual vectors of attack (spam mail, social engineering) and the thing that separates it from other types of malware is its “financial” aspect.

2

Namely, ransomware is basically a way of extorting money from people. When ransomware is executed, it encrypts the entire or parts of a system, locking the victim out and making it impossible for them to do anything on their system. For a certain price, the attacker provides the decryption key to the victim who then regains access to their system.

Sudden Popularity

While 2016 has definitely been the worst ever in terms of ransomware proliferation, this type of malware has been on the rise for a few years now. One of the reasons for its popularity have been the cryptocurrency payment methods that allow for anonymous receipt of ransom payments. This has made it feasible for attackers to ask for relatively small amounts of money which the victims will be prepared to pay, since it has reduced the amount of risk the attackers take.

As some people have pointed out, ransomware became popular because the attacks and the payouts can be organized like a business. It has become a viable business model which can be put to action relatively easily, wreaking havoc worldwide.

The Consequences

The most obvious consequence of becoming a ransomware victim is the money you are asked for in order to regain access to your system. Depending on whether you are an individual, an organization of some kind, or an e-commerce store owner, you will be asked for different amounts of money.

However, the direst consequence for every commercial entity, e-commerce stores included, is the downtime. Namely, a ransomware attack can put an e-commerce store out of commission for any number of days. In the best of cases, this will be a few days and in the worst, it can be weeks. Since it is a well-known fact that downtime can spell death for an e-commerce business, it becomes obvious how big of a problem this can be.

To Pay or not to Pay?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the most important question surrounding ransomware – whether to pay or not. The interesting thing is that convincing arguments are made by both sides.

For example, it is easy to justify paying if your e-commerce store’s system was affected by ransomware. You cannot afford to suffer any significant downtime, as it can lead to an insurmountable drop in sales and profits. You have your employees to think of, as well as your own livelihood. When you do the money math, paying a few hundreds of even thousands for access to your system is an expense that pales in comparison to what your e-commerce store would lose if you had to be offline for a few days.

3

On the other hand, by paying up, you are only perpetuating an ecosystem where ransomware is basically being used as a racket. This is the main reason why organizations like FBI or Europol are saying you shouldn’t pay up. Also, paying up does not necessarily mean you will get access to your system. As InterMedia’s report shows, almost 20% of the ransomware victims who pay the ransom never receive a decryption key.

Possible Prevention

While at times it can seem depressing, the good news is that there are a few things e-commerce store owners can do to protect their business from being affected by ransomware. For one, there are the more commonly recommended cyber security methods like proper employee education, smart practices and employing updated antimalware software.

More importantly, regular, everyday backups are the best way to prevent ransomware from becoming a bankruptcy-level event. Namely, with regular backups, a system can be restored without skipping a beat, ransomware-free.

Closing Word

In the end, the decision on whether to pay up or not will have to be made by the e-commerce owner who will have to factor in a number of variables. For the most part, it will come down to numbers, i.e. whether it is a smart idea to fork over the money for the decryption key or not.

It is sad that it has come to this, but this is our reality at the moment.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2bhNTgq

E-commerce Stores as Ransomware Victims – Pay Up or Not?| By |Dan Radak

A few days ago, Trend Micro released a report on the threat or ransomware for the first half of 2016. Among other things, they discovered that ransomware attacks cost enterprises more than $200 million in the first three months alone. They also discovered that new families of ransomware were being introduced more frequently than ever before.

1

In other words, there are more and more types of ransomware being released, making it more difficult than ever to protect oneself from this type of cyber security threat. All in all, it can be said with some certainty that 2016 will be remembered as the year of ransomware.

As far as e-commerce websites are concerned, this year has seen emergence of a particular piece of ransomware that targets Magento websites, called KimcilWare.

Ransomware 101

In order to be able to address the question of whether to pay up or not when “catching” ransomware, it is important to point out a few facts about this kind of malware.

Ransomware does not necessarily have to be an advanced piece of code and in fact, in most cases it is not. It uses the usual vectors of attack (spam mail, social engineering) and the thing that separates it from other types of malware is its “financial” aspect.

2

Namely, ransomware is basically a way of extorting money from people. When ransomware is executed, it encrypts the entire or parts of a system, locking the victim out and making it impossible for them to do anything on their system. For a certain price, the attacker provides the decryption key to the victim who then regains access to their system.

Sudden Popularity

While 2016 has definitely been the worst ever in terms of ransomware proliferation, this type of malware has been on the rise for a few years now. One of the reasons for its popularity have been the cryptocurrency payment methods that allow for anonymous receipt of ransom payments. This has made it feasible for attackers to ask for relatively small amounts of money which the victims will be prepared to pay, since it has reduced the amount of risk the attackers take.

As some people have pointed out, ransomware became popular because the attacks and the payouts can be organized like a business. It has become a viable business model which can be put to action relatively easily, wreaking havoc worldwide.

The Consequences

The most obvious consequence of becoming a ransomware victim is the money you are asked for in order to regain access to your system. Depending on whether you are an individual, an organization of some kind, or an e-commerce store owner, you will be asked for different amounts of money.

However, the direst consequence for every commercial entity, e-commerce stores included, is the downtime. Namely, a ransomware attack can put an e-commerce store out of commission for any number of days. In the best of cases, this will be a few days and in the worst, it can be weeks. Since it is a well-known fact that downtime can spell death for an e-commerce business, it becomes obvious how big of a problem this can be.

To Pay or not to Pay?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the most important question surrounding ransomware – whether to pay or not. The interesting thing is that convincing arguments are made by both sides.

For example, it is easy to justify paying if your e-commerce store’s system was affected by ransomware. You cannot afford to suffer any significant downtime, as it can lead to an insurmountable drop in sales and profits. You have your employees to think of, as well as your own livelihood. When you do the money math, paying a few hundreds of even thousands for access to your system is an expense that pales in comparison to what your e-commerce store would lose if you had to be offline for a few days.

3

On the other hand, by paying up, you are only perpetuating an ecosystem where ransomware is basically being used as a racket. This is the main reason why organizations like FBI or Europol are saying you shouldn’t pay up. Also, paying up does not necessarily mean you will get access to your system. As InterMedia’s report shows, almost 20% of the ransomware victims who pay the ransom never receive a decryption key.

Possible Prevention

While at times it can seem depressing, the good news is that there are a few things e-commerce store owners can do to protect their business from being affected by ransomware. For one, there are the more commonly recommended cyber security methods like proper employee education, smart practices and employing updated antimalware software.

More importantly, regular, everyday backups are the best way to prevent ransomware from becoming a bankruptcy-level event. Namely, with regular backups, a system can be restored without skipping a beat, ransomware-free.

Closing Word

In the end, the decision on whether to pay up or not will have to be made by the e-commerce owner who will have to factor in a number of variables. For the most part, it will come down to numbers, i.e. whether it is a smart idea to fork over the money for the decryption key or not.

It is sad that it has come to this, but this is our reality at the moment.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2bhNTgq

E-commerce Stores as Ransomware Victims – Pay Up or Not?| By |Dan Radak

A few days ago, Trend Micro released a report on the threat or ransomware for the first half of 2016. Among other things, they discovered that ransomware attacks cost enterprises more than $200 million in the first three months alone. They also discovered that new families of ransomware were being introduced more frequently than ever before.

1

In other words, there are more and more types of ransomware being released, making it more difficult than ever to protect oneself from this type of cyber security threat. All in all, it can be said with some certainty that 2016 will be remembered as the year of ransomware.

As far as e-commerce websites are concerned, this year has seen emergence of a particular piece of ransomware that targets Magento websites, called KimcilWare.

Ransomware 101

In order to be able to address the question of whether to pay up or not when “catching” ransomware, it is important to point out a few facts about this kind of malware.

Ransomware does not necessarily have to be an advanced piece of code and in fact, in most cases it is not. It uses the usual vectors of attack (spam mail, social engineering) and the thing that separates it from other types of malware is its “financial” aspect.

2

Namely, ransomware is basically a way of extorting money from people. When ransomware is executed, it encrypts the entire or parts of a system, locking the victim out and making it impossible for them to do anything on their system. For a certain price, the attacker provides the decryption key to the victim who then regains access to their system.

Sudden Popularity

While 2016 has definitely been the worst ever in terms of ransomware proliferation, this type of malware has been on the rise for a few years now. One of the reasons for its popularity have been the cryptocurrency payment methods that allow for anonymous receipt of ransom payments. This has made it feasible for attackers to ask for relatively small amounts of money which the victims will be prepared to pay, since it has reduced the amount of risk the attackers take.

As some people have pointed out, ransomware became popular because the attacks and the payouts can be organized like a business. It has become a viable business model which can be put to action relatively easily, wreaking havoc worldwide.

The Consequences

The most obvious consequence of becoming a ransomware victim is the money you are asked for in order to regain access to your system. Depending on whether you are an individual, an organization of some kind, or an e-commerce store owner, you will be asked for different amounts of money.

However, the direst consequence for every commercial entity, e-commerce stores included, is the downtime. Namely, a ransomware attack can put an e-commerce store out of commission for any number of days. In the best of cases, this will be a few days and in the worst, it can be weeks. Since it is a well-known fact that downtime can spell death for an e-commerce business, it becomes obvious how big of a problem this can be.

To Pay or not to Pay?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the most important question surrounding ransomware – whether to pay or not. The interesting thing is that convincing arguments are made by both sides.

For example, it is easy to justify paying if your e-commerce store’s system was affected by ransomware. You cannot afford to suffer any significant downtime, as it can lead to an insurmountable drop in sales and profits. You have your employees to think of, as well as your own livelihood. When you do the money math, paying a few hundreds of even thousands for access to your system is an expense that pales in comparison to what your e-commerce store would lose if you had to be offline for a few days.

3

On the other hand, by paying up, you are only perpetuating an ecosystem where ransomware is basically being used as a racket. This is the main reason why organizations like FBI or Europol are saying you shouldn’t pay up. Also, paying up does not necessarily mean you will get access to your system. As InterMedia’s report shows, almost 20% of the ransomware victims who pay the ransom never receive a decryption key.

Possible Prevention

While at times it can seem depressing, the good news is that there are a few things e-commerce store owners can do to protect their business from being affected by ransomware. For one, there are the more commonly recommended cyber security methods like proper employee education, smart practices and employing updated antimalware software.

More importantly, regular, everyday backups are the best way to prevent ransomware from becoming a bankruptcy-level event. Namely, with regular backups, a system can be restored without skipping a beat, ransomware-free.

Closing Word

In the end, the decision on whether to pay up or not will have to be made by the e-commerce owner who will have to factor in a number of variables. For the most part, it will come down to numbers, i.e. whether it is a smart idea to fork over the money for the decryption key or not.

It is sad that it has come to this, but this is our reality at the moment.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2bhNTgq

E-commerce Stores as Ransomware Victims – Pay Up or Not?| By |Dan Radak

A few days ago, Trend Micro released a report on the threat or ransomware for the first half of 2016. Among other things, they discovered that ransomware attacks cost enterprises more than $200 million in the first three months alone. They also discovered that new families of ransomware were being introduced more frequently than ever before.

1

In other words, there are more and more types of ransomware being released, making it more difficult than ever to protect oneself from this type of cyber security threat. All in all, it can be said with some certainty that 2016 will be remembered as the year of ransomware.

As far as e-commerce websites are concerned, this year has seen emergence of a particular piece of ransomware that targets Magento websites, called KimcilWare.

Ransomware 101

In order to be able to address the question of whether to pay up or not when “catching” ransomware, it is important to point out a few facts about this kind of malware.

Ransomware does not necessarily have to be an advanced piece of code and in fact, in most cases it is not. It uses the usual vectors of attack (spam mail, social engineering) and the thing that separates it from other types of malware is its “financial” aspect.

2

Namely, ransomware is basically a way of extorting money from people. When ransomware is executed, it encrypts the entire or parts of a system, locking the victim out and making it impossible for them to do anything on their system. For a certain price, the attacker provides the decryption key to the victim who then regains access to their system.

Sudden Popularity

While 2016 has definitely been the worst ever in terms of ransomware proliferation, this type of malware has been on the rise for a few years now. One of the reasons for its popularity have been the cryptocurrency payment methods that allow for anonymous receipt of ransom payments. This has made it feasible for attackers to ask for relatively small amounts of money which the victims will be prepared to pay, since it has reduced the amount of risk the attackers take.

As some people have pointed out, ransomware became popular because the attacks and the payouts can be organized like a business. It has become a viable business model which can be put to action relatively easily, wreaking havoc worldwide.

The Consequences

The most obvious consequence of becoming a ransomware victim is the money you are asked for in order to regain access to your system. Depending on whether you are an individual, an organization of some kind, or an e-commerce store owner, you will be asked for different amounts of money.

However, the direst consequence for every commercial entity, e-commerce stores included, is the downtime. Namely, a ransomware attack can put an e-commerce store out of commission for any number of days. In the best of cases, this will be a few days and in the worst, it can be weeks. Since it is a well-known fact that downtime can spell death for an e-commerce business, it becomes obvious how big of a problem this can be.

To Pay or not to Pay?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the most important question surrounding ransomware – whether to pay or not. The interesting thing is that convincing arguments are made by both sides.

For example, it is easy to justify paying if your e-commerce store’s system was affected by ransomware. You cannot afford to suffer any significant downtime, as it can lead to an insurmountable drop in sales and profits. You have your employees to think of, as well as your own livelihood. When you do the money math, paying a few hundreds of even thousands for access to your system is an expense that pales in comparison to what your e-commerce store would lose if you had to be offline for a few days.

3

On the other hand, by paying up, you are only perpetuating an ecosystem where ransomware is basically being used as a racket. This is the main reason why organizations like FBI or Europol are saying you shouldn’t pay up. Also, paying up does not necessarily mean you will get access to your system. As InterMedia’s report shows, almost 20% of the ransomware victims who pay the ransom never receive a decryption key.

Possible Prevention

While at times it can seem depressing, the good news is that there are a few things e-commerce store owners can do to protect their business from being affected by ransomware. For one, there are the more commonly recommended cyber security methods like proper employee education, smart practices and employing updated antimalware software.

More importantly, regular, everyday backups are the best way to prevent ransomware from becoming a bankruptcy-level event. Namely, with regular backups, a system can be restored without skipping a beat, ransomware-free.

Closing Word

In the end, the decision on whether to pay up or not will have to be made by the e-commerce owner who will have to factor in a number of variables. For the most part, it will come down to numbers, i.e. whether it is a smart idea to fork over the money for the decryption key or not.

It is sad that it has come to this, but this is our reality at the moment.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://ift.tt/2bhNTgq

E-commerce Stores as Ransomware Victims – Pay Up or Not?| By |Dan Radak

A few days ago, Trend Micro released a report on the threat or ransomware for the first half of 2016. Among other things, they discovered that ransomware attacks cost enterprises more than $200 million in the first three months alone. They also discovered that new families of ransomware were being introduced more frequently than ever before.

1

In other words, there are more and more types of ransomware being released, making it more difficult than ever to protect oneself from this type of cyber security threat. All in all, it can be said with some certainty that 2016 will be remembered as the year of ransomware.

As far as e-commerce websites are concerned, this year has seen emergence of a particular piece of ransomware that targets Magento websites, called KimcilWare.

Ransomware 101

In order to be able to address the question of whether to pay up or not when “catching” ransomware, it is important to point out a few facts about this kind of malware.

Ransomware does not necessarily have to be an advanced piece of code and in fact, in most cases it is not. It uses the usual vectors of attack (spam mail, social engineering) and the thing that separates it from other types of malware is its “financial” aspect.

2

Namely, ransomware is basically a way of extorting money from people. When ransomware is executed, it encrypts the entire or parts of a system, locking the victim out and making it impossible for them to do anything on their system. For a certain price, the attacker provides the decryption key to the victim who then regains access to their system.

Sudden Popularity

While 2016 has definitely been the worst ever in terms of ransomware proliferation, this type of malware has been on the rise for a few years now. One of the reasons for its popularity have been the cryptocurrency payment methods that allow for anonymous receipt of ransom payments. This has made it feasible for attackers to ask for relatively small amounts of money which the victims will be prepared to pay, since it has reduced the amount of risk the attackers take.

As some people have pointed out, ransomware became popular because the attacks and the payouts can be organized like a business. It has become a viable business model which can be put to action relatively easily, wreaking havoc worldwide.

The Consequences

The most obvious consequence of becoming a ransomware victim is the money you are asked for in order to regain access to your system. Depending on whether you are an individual, an organization of some kind, or an e-commerce store owner, you will be asked for different amounts of money.

However, the direst consequence for every commercial entity, e-commerce stores included, is the downtime. Namely, a ransomware attack can put an e-commerce store out of commission for any number of days. In the best of cases, this will be a few days and in the worst, it can be weeks. Since it is a well-known fact that downtime can spell death for an e-commerce business, it becomes obvious how big of a problem this can be.

To Pay or not to Pay?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the most important question surrounding ransomware – whether to pay or not. The interesting thing is that convincing arguments are made by both sides.

For example, it is easy to justify paying if your e-commerce store’s system was affected by ransomware. You cannot afford to suffer any significant downtime, as it can lead to an insurmountable drop in sales and profits. You have your employees to think of, as well as your own livelihood. When you do the money math, paying a few hundreds of even thousands for access to your system is an expense that pales in comparison to what your e-commerce store would lose if you had to be offline for a few days.

3

On the other hand, by paying up, you are only perpetuating an ecosystem where ransomware is basically being used as a racket. This is the main reason why organizations like FBI or Europol are saying you shouldn’t pay up. Also, paying up does not necessarily mean you will get access to your system. As InterMedia’s report shows, almost 20% of the ransomware victims who pay the ransom never receive a decryption key.

Possible Prevention

While at times it can seem depressing, the good news is that there are a few things e-commerce store owners can do to protect their business from being affected by ransomware. For one, there are the more commonly recommended cyber security methods like proper employee education, smart practices and employing updated antimalware software.

More importantly, regular, everyday backups are the best way to prevent ransomware from becoming a bankruptcy-level event. Namely, with regular backups, a system can be restored without skipping a beat, ransomware-free.

Closing Word

In the end, the decision on whether to pay up or not will have to be made by the e-commerce owner who will have to factor in a number of variables. For the most part, it will come down to numbers, i.e. whether it is a smart idea to fork over the money for the decryption key or not.

It is sad that it has come to this, but this is our reality at the moment.

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