Many people are aware of the widespread ransomware, but only a few know or have experienced extortionware. Although these two elements are security threats, their definition is different and may have diverse effects on the firm. Ransomware involves cyber criminals taking information and blackmailing the company to part with a defined sum of money to have it restored. In this case, the attack may be by the use of a virus which restricts data access by the attacked firm. When such an occurrence happens, the company may risk losing all its data if they do not have an alternative backup.
Extortionware, on the other hand, involves asking for a ransom to have the information withheld from the public. The company still has control of the data in their systems, but they risk having it exposed to the public. In this kind of extortion, the firm is at risk of bleaching its users’ agreement by having its clients’ data in the wrong hands, while still exposing its methods of operation which may be used against it by the competitors.
The methods of protection against either ransomware or extortionware are similar, and the company needs to stay prepared for any attacks.
While a company need to focus more on having a data backup to avoid exploitation by ransomware, data encryption is paramount in extortionware protection. Data which moves around in an encrypted form is of no use to hackers as they need special tools to have the data interpreted.
Hackers are continually inventing new ways to get into systems and steal information for financial gains. As a firm, qualified IT personnel should be present to play the role of ethical hackers. These employees will take the task of hackers to try and ethically hack the company’s system with the aim of detecting the availability of loopholes. Immediate patching is required when any penetration test has identified any loopholes which can be used by the hackers to access data.