A cyber attack will inevitably come at the worst moment. What should a boss do when their business is hit by a particularly nasty piece of ransomware?

Pulling out the PCs does not mean putting up the shutters. When your organisation is under ransomware attack, every moment is critical.

The screens have gone black at TypMids, and after a moment, a message has popped up on every laptop saying, “Oops! All your files have been encrypted!”, along with a demand for £70,000 in bitcoins for a decryption key. The timing could not have been worse: staff wages were due to go out and a series of suppliers set to be paid. Meanwhile, a new recruit in accounts, Jen Slack, has tearfully admitted that she may have been responsible for letting the cyber attack in by opening a dodgy-looking email, against com-pany policy. What should TypMids’ managing director, Jayne Boss, do about the immediate crisis? What should she do longer term? And how should she handle Jen?

Ransomware attacks are evolving in sophistication. Even the most savvy person can fall foul of an attack

Ian Vickers, CEO of METCLOUD

Although it’ll come as a shock to Jayne Boss, she is far from alone. TypMids has been hit by a form of ransomware – digital blackmailing – that has become one of the most common forms of cyber attack. Depending on which figures you follow, between a quarter and three quarters of British businesses suffer at least one ransomware attack each year. It is a huge, lucrative, professional black economy, and one criminals love because it’s easy to do and is almost risk-free: the attacker wants payments in bitcoins because they are untraceable.

The vast majority of British businesses – about four fifths – pay a ransom. How-ever, it is often wasted money, with some reports saying as few as 60 per cent of vic-tims recover their data, either because the decoding key is faulty or the blackmailers walk away; until next time, because they often return to those who cough up.

From our featured article in the Midlands Business Insider magazine.

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