What is ransomware and why are IT engineers afraid of it?

Ransomware is a term which you may have heard many times recently due to the amount of successful attacks that have taken place. The most recent high impact attack was on the colonial pipeline in the US that has prevented critical supplies reaching the consumers. The organisation that performed the attack was identified but little action was taken, so with a little insight into how devastating a ransomware attack can be, lets get to it.

When a ransomware attack takes place, all processes which rely on a computer system will go offline, critical digital communications will be halted and sensitive data will be breached as well as deleted in some cases. The worst part is that absolutely nothing can be done to 100% guarantee you will retrieve all of your data and it's highly unlikely that you will receive any justice at all.

Ransomware is simply a term to describe a password that has been placed on top of your data so you cannot access it until you pay the cyber criminal a sizeable figure. This method is fairly easy to overcome without paying anything so it's not too much of a worry but hackers soon realised that they need to improve their attack. In order to do this, they started to use cryptoware which encrypts all of the production data and online backups within a business. This attack is impossible to pull your data out of and the only 2 ways in which to recover your data is by paying the cyber criminal and hoping they do not delete everything or alternatively, restoring your data from an offline backup.

Now if you are not technical, you are probably thinking well what's the problem, just restore from an offline backup right? You are quite right but the problem is businesses do not see any direct benefit from paying for an offline backup solution until it is actually needed (when an attack happens). With this in mind, businesses often ignore the risk or refuse to take on the relatively small fee's as they don't see the point.

So why are IT engineers afraid of ransomware? Well businesses aren't willing to pay the costs in order to mitigate against ransomware attacks so when an attack happens, the bosses come down like a tonne of bricks and let's be honest, the engineers usually get the blame. IT engineers are then left in a position where they are powerless and the only thing they can do is tell their boss to pay the cyber criminal and hope for the best.

The majority of cyber criminals are not relentless enough to perform attacks that have widescale impact such as the colonial pipeline attack and the attack on the NHS a few years ago however, there are still a few. This proves that it does not matter how large or small your organisation is, whether you are part of the government or not, you are a target and you always will be.

If you are struggling with your cyber security or you don't know whether you have taken all the necessary steps, we will be happy to give you any advice. Just drop us an email on and we'll assist in any way we can. We also have cyber security partners who can extensively review your security and provide you with the correct tools.

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