Secondary Effects Of Ransomware


Ransomware is a major problem worldwide, and it is ramping up. Companies must be increasingly aware of the threat ransomware provides to their infrastructure. With how digital the modern world is, almost any organization can be a target of ransomware, as long as they have some digital footprint in one way or another. Many companies may feel false security due to being in an industry not commonly thought of as a ransomware target, or due to a lack of understanding. This false security can often be dangerous and lead to major attacks against many facets of an organization’s operations and supply chain.

What Is The Goal Of Ransomware?

As with most businesses, legal or otherwise, the goal of ransomware is to generate money. This is done through extortion and threats against the client. Often the ransomware operators will find sensitive information that they will threaten to expose to the public. Other times they may just cause as much damage as possible and create disruptions until the ransom is paid. Either way, the main common features are threats if the victim does not pay, a sense of urgency before the ransomed data is released, and massive damage caused until the files can be decrypted one way or another.

Ransomware gangs operate very professionally to give off the impression that they are more than criminal groups. Teams will have members dedicated to handling the victims professionally to make it feel more like a business transaction, as opposed to extortion. This can make victims more likely to pay higher ransoms and cooperate more with the ransomware gangs.

Typically, the criminals will come in with a much higher price than the victim can afford and try to negotiate it down. They will argue with the victim that based on public revenue figures, they have found an appropriate number for them to charge. They may also employ tactics such as arguing that numbers are irrelevant if the victim has ransomware insurance. All of this is done to attempt to pull as much money as possible out of their target.

Lesser Known Ransomware Effects

The primary effects of ransomware are going to be extortion and disruption. This is done through data encryption and selling the decryptor key to the client. This whole process has massive time pressure due to the problems caused. While these problems alone are massive and incredibly detrimental to business flow, there can be even more secondary effects that are less thought of when discussing ransomware.

A difficult-to-solve problem is paying the ransom. While just paying it and going back to business as normal is by far the fastest and easiest way to resume normal business, it can be incredibly costly. It also encourages ransomware gangs to expand their efforts, thus proliferating the problem. Unfortunately, many companies cannot afford to refuse the ransomware operators’ demands, as the downtime and data exposure may be even more costly than simply paying the ransom.

Ransomware gangs are not held accountable for anything and rarely show any morals or standards. Their ultimate goal is simply getting paid, and if something goes wrong along the way, it does not matter to them. There have been many cases where victims receive broken decryptors, or incomplete data due to an error on the side of the hacker. While they may attempt to help to some degree to maintain their false air of legitimacy, often they simply take the money and run, leaving the victim in an even worse position.

Business disruption is one of the main goals of ransomware. Although this fact is well known, it can be easy to neglect just how far this will spread. At the beginning of April 2024, Panera Bread experienced a week-long disruption to normal business flow. This is now being attributed to a ransomware attack. During the outage, employees were unable to see their schedule online and instead had to go to their managers to find out this information. Many internal functions were completely taken offline.

From a customer perspective, there were many problems as well. Panera recently released a subscription service for unlimited drinks at their store. Customers attempting to take advantage of this were unable due to the attack crippling critical servers. Problems like this affecting an organization can have a significant effect. Customers may begin canceling their subscriptions when they see that a service can be unreliable.

Through all of this, one of the biggest problems is the damage to public image. Getting attacked with ransomware can cause customers to lose faith in the organization, and this may be damaging to the company as a whole. While total coverage is hard to achieve, organizations should take as many precautions as possible to prevent ransomware before it happens. Shutting out attackers from the very beginning will be far more effective than dealing with devastating ransomware attacks.

Blog Search

Social Media