Real-life Tech Tales: Bitcoin Ransom
Tom Andrulis, the owner of Intelligent Technical Solutions, talks with us about a true story from the tech world. This is a true story about a business he is familiar with, what can happen when you do not take your data management seriously enough, and how managed IT services help resolve the difficult problems.
A small business reached out to an IT company because they were experiencing a security problem. They logged in after a holiday weekend to find that their files were encrypted with a note demanding $6500 in bitcoin to get them back.
This company was only paying for backup, which is not enough to protect a business or its clients. They had no data management infrastructure and left common danger spots unsecured. This allowed the attackers to find a weak spot in their firewall that allowed employees to work remotely from home.
Once the hacker was able to remote in, they infected the administrator and then sat on the network and searched for opportunities. Once they figured out how much money they could get from this business, the attack started.
Files were encrypted and employees were left without access until the $6500 bitcoin ransom was paid. This is a truly dire circumstance.
This business did the smart thing and reached out to an MSP to help resolve the situation. The MSP was able to look into what was going on and assess the situation.
Luckily, this business did have backup copies and the MSP was able to use seed data to restore the most important data. However, this business still ended up needing to pay $6500 in ransom to recover what they had stolen. They also lost productivity when the system was down and had to expend the effort and worry to get back to where they were.
The Lessons Learned
Just paying for backups is not enough security. These hackers were able to get in through an open port in the Firewall, which is extremely common. Most security breaches are started through an open firewall port, even though tightening up security here is one of the easiest ways to improve your data security.
However, given the lack of data management, the company came out relatively alright. The average ransomware payout was over $80,000 in the last quarter of 2019, and that does not include the damage of downtime and brand trust.
One of the best ways to improve this business's outcome would have been to work with an MSP that can help them manage their data before the attack. A couple of small improvements in their IT infrastructure could have saved them time and money. It does not take much to drastically improve the outcomes for your business should a ransomware attack happen to you.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with the data management needs for your business.