Firms urged to invest in cybersecurity

Businesses are urged to invest in implementing cybersecurity measures as ransomware attacks have been on a massive scale since the pandemic, resulting in global economic damage.

“In today’s environment where the risk to your company’s assets and business continuity is rapidly increasing, protecting your organization by putting adequate resources within the right security measures is not just spending the money, throwing away the money, but it is a very, very smart investment,” said Mi Jeong Hibbitts, president of Robert and William, LLC, an international trade and marketing consulting firm located in Maryland in the US.

Hibbitts said there is an increasing cost associated with downtime and recovery time after ransomware attacks.

“This is directly affecting and hurting productivity in your organization,” she told companies in a webinar on cybersecurity for productivity. “We really need to see this from a more productivity perspective in an organization.”

Hibbitts cited data from Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s leading research and publishing organization, showing that ransomware damage and costs have been growing worldwide from $325 million in 2015 to $20 billion this year.

“Additionally, experts predict the amount of ransomware damage will increase rapidly so in about 10 years from now, in 2031, will reach about $265 billion,” she said.

Hibbitts said research also indicates that 40 percent of ransomware victims spend two to three days recovering data from a ransomware attack, while a total 41 percent of them will take a week and more to recover.

She said the average cost of ransomware-caused downtime per incident has been increasing each year, with cost reaching about $380,000 for this year alone.

“To many small and medium enterprises (SMEs), this is a significant loss of productivity. There are also a lot more damages that are beyond economic damages, such as negative publicity and loss of customer trust, and etc. Therefore, today’s cybersecurity issue, particularly ransomware attacks, can sometimes be a matter of survival for some SMEs and it is something that every business should pay closer attention to and discuss seriously about prevention, strategy, and measure within the organization,” she added.

Chris Kim, managing director of Cyrobe LLC, said ransomware is a type of malware that can either encrypt all data, or log out one of his computer.

Kim said that once the ransomware has impacted a computer, the attacker then asks a ransom from the victim in exchange for decrypting data or unlocking their computer.

To prevent ransomware, Kim advised that one should never click any link or an attachment contained in incoming emails, and should not use a scanning tool to detect malware that may be embedded in an email.

“The installation of not only firewalls but also especially end-point protection products is important and essential,” he said.

Kim said there is also a need to notify users of out-of-network emails, keep current data backups, and protect one’s information.

“Since the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, ransomware attacks targeting remote employees have been on a massive scale and will become even clearer in 2021,” he added. “More companies will switch to zero trust security due to the vulnerability of identity-based threats.”

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