What is ransomware? UK cyber security chief issues warning

The UK Cyber ​​Security Director has warned of the dangers of ransomware, which is said to cost UK businesses millions of pounds each year.

Lindy Cameron, who heads the National Cyber ​​Security Center, said that most of the ransomware attacks in the UK come from Russia and neighboring countries, and that everything from large businesses to schools is at risk.

Speaking at the Chatham House Cyber ​​2021 conference, she added that the UK authorities would launch a “sustainable, proactive” campaign against online security threats.

READ MORE: West Midlands Police were hit by 60,000 cyberattacks in just one year

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that uses file encryption to hold target’s information in exchange for ransom effectively. It prevents victims from accessing files and data until they pay a fee.

The ransom demanded from the victims can be thousands of pounds. Attackers often request that their money be paid out through Bitcoin, which is anonymous and therefore harder to track than normal currency.

How much does ransomware cost?

It is estimated that the global cost of ransomware could exceed $ 20 billion (£ 14.6 billion) in 2021.

In 2018, ransomware was estimated to cost UK companies a total of £ 346 million a year.

A 2019 report by the UK government put the average cost of cyberattacks on UK businesses at £ 4,180.

How can I protect myself against ransomware?

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your business from ransomware attacks.

In particular, you should ensure that your devices are up to date with the latest antivirus and whitelisting software to prevent unauthorized programs from exploiting security vulnerabilities.

In addition, your operating system must be kept up to date with all updates so that potential security gaps can be fixed.

Files should be backed up regularly and automatically. This is to ensure that the damage caused by a cyber attack is much less than would otherwise be the case.

You also need to make sure that you and all employees know that you are not allowed to install software unless you are completely sure that it is legitimate to do so.

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