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Ransomware: What it is? Origin and Ransomware Protection

Explore what's ransomware? How did it came to be? And how can you protect your business infrastructure from it.

12th Nov 2018
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Ransomware - the word conjures up images of lost data, locked down systems and entire organizations coming to a grinding halt. It happened to hospitals, corporations, government agencies and more and it's a threat that continues to grow. It’s a nightmare for companies all around the globe. You have been hearing about it quite often but have you ever wondered what this ransomware fuss is all about? This article will enlist what is ransomware, its history and protection against it.

What is Ransomware?

Let’s dig in and understand about ransomware. 


Basically, ransomware is a type of malware that blocks your files and folders, preventing access. Ransomware does this to extort money from the victims. Usually, they ask money in the form of cryptocurrencies in exchange for the decryption keys. Examples of ransomware include WannaCry, Petya, BadRabbit, and SamSam.

Ransomware has already incurred financial losses in millions globally. This global threat is growing and has grown by more than 700% since 2016


Birth of Ransomware:

Let’s go back in time and explore the origin story of ransomware. Ransomware was a prominent threat to enterprises since mid-2000s. The first documented ransomware attack was in 1989.

According to the review presented by Becker’s hospital the first known ransomware attack occurred in 1989 and it targeted healthcare industry. After that there was an evolution in ransomware attacks. The image below shows the breakdown of ransomware in certain years. 


After the first documented ransomware attack in 1989, ransomware attacks went under the radar until the mid-2000s. When they resurfaced, the attacks were more sophisticated and tougher-to-crack. Cryptolocker emerged as a prominent ransomware variant around 2013 and lead to large numbers in financial losses. It happened between September and December 2013.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that ransomware attacks will increase every 14 seconds by 2019.

This concludes the part about what ransomware is and its history. So how does one protect their IT infrastructure from ransomware? Let’s explore that.

Ransomware Protection – Backup and Disaster Recovery Planning

Experts are continuously working on ransomware prevention techniques and solutions. However, the speed at which ransomware is evolving, it’s always a risk to rely solely on preventive technology, it’s important to always have a way to recover when all else fails. This is the same principle as using a seat belt each time one goes for a drive. You’re not always going to end up in an accident but if you do, it’ll keep you safe.

There are a number of ways businesses can ensure data recovery for important workloads, one of them is cloud backup. With cloud first policies, businesses around the globe are making the move to the cloud. Cloud computing models like IaaS (Infrastructure as a service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) are delivering enterprise-level services at affordable prices and without the OpEx expenses.

If you have an effective backup and disaster recovery plan then you can protect your files and recover from ransomware attacks without delay.  Businesses can also setup backup and disaster recovery infrastructure for their enterprise workloads. On-premises infrastructure facilitates faster read/write speeds and reduced latency; compared to cloud backups, on-premises infrastructure delivers faster backups and recovery times.

In order to develop reliable data protection strategies, businesses need to analyze the data flowing through their infrastructure. It’s important that IT administrators understand what kind of data qualifies as mission-critical and thus requires reduced recovery times while which data isn’t that important and the business can endure delay in their recovery. After the analysis, businesses can acquire reliable backup and disaster recovery solutions to ensure data recovery in the event of a successful ransomware attack.

That concludes my brief point of view about ransomware, its history and the data protection measures that can effectively protect business workloads. Share your thoughts in the comment section below and share this article with like-minded professionals. 

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