It was the infamous Wanna Cry ransomware attack that made people sit up and take notice. Not because it was the first of its kind but because it impacted people of all ages and from all walks of life throughout the world. By triggering system failures and by shutting down the computer systems and phone systems of hospitals, governments, and universities, the hackers were able to hold data assets, information and even the lives of the people to ransom. Ransomware, thus, is a growing cybersecurity menace, as it not just encrypts data (thereby causing downtime) but also demands ransom for restoring access to the data (and the access is deniedeven after payment as very often the data is irrevocably damaged or erased).
Costing over $100 million dollars, Wanna Cry was truly one of the worst cyber-attacks. The frequency and severity of ransomware attacks is substantiated by Cybersecurity Ventures with its forecasts that by the end of 2019 there will be a ransomware attack on businesses every 14 seconds and the global damage costs in connection with ransomware attacks would reach $11.5 billion annually.
The ransomware infection spreadswith the opening of a malware attachment or by downloading from an infected website. It then unleashes an unending torrent of woes against its target whether company, hospital, institution, or government. Ransomware poses as legitimate and reliable software or email and in the absence of a robust cybersecurity defence; it can have serious implications when downloaded. These include: