With 2019 almost finished, both users and businesses are starting to prepare for the cyber threats they will have to combat in 2020. Hackers are continuously looking for new strategies and ways to cheat and defraud victims, so we have to know what threats we will face in the next year to look out and be ready to defend. This week, we’ll count down the top 5 Cybersecurity Threats

THREAT #5: RANSOMWARE

“Your data has been encrypted with the strong military algorithm; our special decoder is a must to restore the data. You have to pay within 3 days or you will never get your files back. Tick-Tock!”

Above is an excerpt from a ransom note people all over the world received from hackers who had managed to penetrate their computer system. Ransomware, a type of malware that threatens to block access to the victim’s data or publish it unless a ransom is paid, is big business. In 2019, the number of such attacks in the USA grew dramatically. For example, in July, the whole city of Riviera Beach, Flordia was paralyzed due to a virus that was traced back to a single city council clerk’s computer. The city was forced to pay $600,000 to hackers as to release their system

ransomware-nhs

In 2020, ransomware will is expected to become more targeted. Businesses, not individuals, will remain the primary victims of such attacks: local governments, healthcare organizations, and financial companies – the more damage criminals can inflict, the higher ransom they can demand.  But organizations and companies are fighting back. For example, The No More Ransom project helped more than 200,000 victims to decrypt their data without paying a ransom.  The only way to really protect yourself is to avoid ransomware entirely.

Never click on suspicious links in emails even from someone you know, make backups regularly, use strong antivirus software and do not forget to keep it up to date, and never ever trust anyone on the Internet.

Tomorrow, we’ll check out part 2.

~ Dean Chester

Author’s bio: Dean Chester is a tech enthusiast, computer geek, and founder of www.cooltechzone.com. This site was created as a non-profit project; it neither sells anything nor advertises any IT product. Together with his brother, Dean is struggling for the internet that is open, globally connected, trustworthy, secure and available to everyone.