Cryptoloc CEO warns businesses to 'Act Now' to avoid falling victim to cyberattacks
Brisbane, 3 August 2020 – The CEO of an Australian cybersecurity firm is today warning businesses to ‘take action now’ in order to prevent falling victim to a cyber-attack. Melissa Crossman, CEO of Cryptoloc Technology Group says businesses are still not taking the threat of cyber-attack’s seriously, despite recent high-profile attacks on large organisations including Garmin and MGM.
Crossman said, “The time for complacency when it comes to cyber-attacks has passed - the threat is here and it’s here to stay. Businesses need to take action now or you risk a huge repair bill, unlimited fines, a dented reputation and in the case of ransomware attacks, an immediate large payment if that’s the only option left”.
Last week, cyber-attackers successfully locked down Garmin by encrypting their systems. The hackers demanded a $10 million US Dollar ransom to be paid in exchange for providing the digital key needed to remove the encryption. The attack caused Garmin GPS devices around the world to stop communicating with Garmin’s update systems. Some pilots of small aircraft in the US had to resort to using manual flight plans as they could not update their navigation systems (in compliance with FAA regulations), although there was limited risk to human life.
Crossman went on to say, “Cyber-attackers are part of highly organised criminal networks and the reality is, once they take control of your network, unless you are prepared, you have no choice but to submit to their demands. Of course, even after paying the ransom there is no guarantee of the attackers providing the means to unlock your network”.
“We are seeing it happen almost daily now. Businesses of all sizes come to us saying they have suffered a cyber- attack and only now they want to prevent it from happening in future. This means they have to bear the financial cost of repairing damage from the last cyber-attack and investing in preventing another. If they had correctly assessed the risk before they fell victim, we could have saved them a lot of money”.
The cost of falling victim to a cyber-attack doesn’t just extend to repairing the damage. In many cases personal data is stolen during the attack and this can lead to virtually unlimited fines from data protection regulators. In 2018, UK flag-carrier airline British Airways fell victim to a cyber-attack resulting in a customer data theft. The company has recently set aside EUR 22 Million to put towards any fine related to the incident, although the British data protection regulator has proposed a fine of £183.4 million GBP (EUR 203 million).
Cybersecurity Analysts at Cryptoloc Technology Group believe that the sharp rise in high profile cyber-attacks this year is largely down to the spread of COVID-19. International government-imposed lockdowns mean the majority of office-based employees have had to start working from home all of a sudden. Businesses have had to give employees remote access without notice, effectively making their home network part of their employer’s network. Home networks are not designed to deal with the same cybersecurity risks as large-scale business networks and often employee’s using their own computer will have insufficient virus and firewall protection.
The huge increase in home working has also put increased strain on Internet Service Providers whom are also falling victim to DDoS based cyber-attacks, an unwelcome interference on already heavily loaded networks.
Crossman added, “Why are businesses just sitting back and waiting for it to happen to them? Let’s stop ignoring the risks and start investing in cybersecurity because we can confidently say based on recent attacks, if you ignore the risk, the majority of you will fall victim to these criminals. If you don’t have a cybersecurity budget in 2020, create one. Find the money from somewhere because if you don’t, you’ll have a lot less time to find it when a cyber-attacker demands a ransom from you”.