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Ransomware Attacks Continue to Affect Businesses Around Calgary

The need for cyber security has been on the radar and in the playbooks of serious companies and their executives for some years. However, recent advancements in a particularly virulent strain of software called “ransomware” has made even forward-thinking CIOs sit up and take notice.

Ransomware attacks are hitting businesses hard, right here in Calgary.

K&M Systems Integration has long been at the forefront of building awareness of these threats and keeping their clients protected against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber criminal activity. Unfortunately, criminals are getting more sophisticated in their software skills and their methodology.  Today’s attacks are not only potentially crippling, but they’re also getting harder and harder to detect.

Ransomware is a dangerous trend in malware that invades a computer and encrypts the documents, files, pictures, and other vital data making it unusable.  Then the criminals use a communications portal within the ransomware program to demand that the user pay a large amount of money to “unlock” or unencrypt the files. It is the experience of trained professionals that criminals are currently transmitting this vicious malware through Email – Email attachments in particular.

Calgary Cyber Security

The problem is, even with protection in place ransomware isn’t always detectable. That’s because cyber-criminals are constantly updating with new strands and variations, making it harder for firewalls and other means of protection to detect.

Case in point: One client of K&M Systems Integration employed not only Email filtering, firewall protection but also relied on an antivirus software to protect their systems. Unfortunately, ransomware still got through. When the K&M Systems Integration staff looked into the situation after the attack, they found that the ransomware signature was a very new, zero-day variant. This means that the makers of the antivirus software, filtering, and firewall protections in place couldn’t identify the ransomware as something that would harm the computer – it was that new, and that advanced.

The Importance of Backups

Through planning and preparedness, the K&M Systems Integration team had set up their client with comprehensive backups of their data. Because of this foresight, the client didn’t have to pay the ransom to retrieve their files.

That doesn’t mean that the attack was without negative effects.

Even with backups in place, it took the K&M Systems Integration team thirty-one hours of clean-up and restoration time to get the client back on track. They were up and running within hours, but it cost the client to have K&M Systems Integration technicians restore the files. Added to that cost was the  $4000 of lost productivity and wage expense the client’s business suffered because their employees were unable to work for the good part of a day. (The costs may rise exponentially higher depending upon the business that is targeted by ransomware.)

Typically, it would cost the clients of K&M Systems Integrationabout $1200 a year to run proper protection on all of their devices. This is pennies compared to the agitation, reputational damage, and financial loss (in this case around $8000) that a ransomware attack can cause.

About K&M Systems Integration

K&M Systems Integration is a thought leader in the management of business technology solutions as well as a Managed Service Provider. {name} leads the company in high-level I.T. consultation with executives of businesses across Alberta.

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