COVID19 ransomware threats

Coronavirus and Cryptovirology: Unfortunately, they have more in common than the letter “C”

As employees look to stay informed on coronavirus news, a business’s risk of being a victim of a data breach increase. Ransomware, a type of malware from cryptovirology, threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. Two powerful “C” words that can be detrimental to your business, but you CAN take action to protect yourself.

Coronavirus related ransomware attacks have significantly multiplied as hackers exploit our interest on staying informed on the COVID-19 crisis. You can do a simple Bing search to read the myriad of tactics scammers are attempting to monetize using a variety of strategies from malware to phishing. Think you are immune? Hackers have no size bias – they will victimize any size business.

Have you done a risk assessment? Do you know your company’s secure score? Wondering how you check? Keep reading.

Preventing Ransomware Attacks

Take Stock

We are seeing an alarming increase in the number of clients who are not adequately maintaining their on-premises systems and security software, which make them a prime target.

The more you’re aware of cybersecurity threats and the more you’re prepared and updated, the less your company is at risk of the digital world, and the greater your returns and guarantee for safe business practices now and in the future.

Update Your System — On-premises or the Cloud?

(Are you still considering investing in your on-prem server instead of moving to the cloud?)

Have you delayed updating your on-prem server? Take stock. If you are relying on outdated systems and have been putting off modernizing your mode of operations, you are rendering your company vulnerable to an attack. With COVID-19 precautions and the shift to a remote workforce, you also may be facing challenges to accommodate.

There are a few factors to consider:

With the end of life for Windows 7 and Windows Service 2008 R2 support, if you are still running your business on these versions, you are more vulnerable to security risks and viruses, as you no longer receive software updates —including security —from Microsoft. If this describes you, then it’s time to upgrade your Windows operating system, consider purchasing Extended Security Updates for the operating system, or take advantage of moving to Azure to continue getting free security updates.

Consider the Cost (The real cost of ransomware)

Nothing smarts quite like harm caused by digital invasion or exposure — it’s an invisible and costly enemy of enterprise. The threat (and cost) of ransomware is real and increasing for companies of every shape and size.

Attacks are on the rise, and costs are climbing. According to, in 2019 ransomware attacks averaged every 14 seconds. By 2021, the speed of invasion is projected to be every 11 seconds. Estimates from ransomware recovery costs exceeded eight billion in 2018, and companies of all sizes were affected. New ransomware variant payments are increasing and have gone from a $10,000 average to $288,000 per incident.

Ransomware doesn’t discriminate. It’s malicious software that invades computer networks of all sizes and holds your data hostage through encryption or other methods until ransom is paid; usually through cryptocurrency such as Bitware. If you think you are too small or out of the scope of the attacks, think again.

Your Security Solution Starter Setup

While, the data is sobering, there are mechanisms you can utilize and may already have that you can deploy. For example, if you are using an updated version of Microsoft Office 365, then you already have access to a few tools for protection against unwanted guests or malware invaders.

If you don’t yet have a recent version of Microsoft Office 365, then considering the security benefit from upgrading is just one more reason to weigh the investment earlier rather than later.

The Microsoft Cloud platform offers a rich portfolio of applications to support your growing business – all include built-in security: Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Office 365 to drive employee productivity and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to support your business operations and customer management, each have ransomware versioning and built-in security protections. Onedrive for Business, SharePoint Online and Teams, which are part of the Microsoft Office 365 solution, have version control and built-in ransomware protection for corporate shares. In addition, if you’re supported by the cloud, then updates are ongoing and seamless.

In addition, Azure offers a back-up protection plan for off-site protection. By moving your workload to Azure, it takes just minutes to recover from a cyberattack like ransomware. No matter where you stand on your business software – on-premises or cloud – there are security solutions.

Knowing your company’s secure score is your first step. As we each navigate our business through the impacts of COVID-19, you and your team can protect your company from the “other” C, cryptovirology.

Best Regards,
Keith Goedde

About Keith

Keith leads the Velosio Cloud Practice consulting with clients on their Cloud Transformation strategies and ensuring the scalability, security, and operations of the Velosio Stratos Cloud.