Ransomware attacks can be dangerous for different reasons, locking you out of your computer, holding your private information for ransom, etc. But a ransomware attack on a telemarketing company in Sherwood, Arkansas lost its CEO her 300 employees after the company failed to recover from a ransomware infection months a couple of months ago.
This is probably the first time an incident such as this has come to the limelight where the company had to fire its employees citing a ransomware attack as the reason. This incident also highlights the need for a better rather advanced cybersecurity infrastructure required at enterprises to deal with cyberattacks of this magnitude.
In a letter, Sandra Franecke, who happens to be CEO of The Heritage Company, said that a ransomware attack on its servers led to hackers demanding a ransom to unlock the systems. In spite of heeding to hackers' demand of 'hundreds of thousands of dollars,' the company did not get back on its feet, financially struggling to pay wages to employees. As a result, the CEO decided to shut shop and let all her employees go, days before Christmas.
"Unfortunately, approximately two months ago our Heritage servers were attacked by malicious software that basically “held us hostage for ransom” and we were forced to pay the crooks to get the “key” just to get our systems back up and running," Franecke said in her apologetic letter to employees.
You can read the full letter here.
According to a recent report, the year 2019 has been termed the 'the year of ransomware attacks on municipalities.' Researchers have observed that in 2019, at least 174 municipal institutions, with more than 3,000 subset organisations, were targeted by ransomware, representing a 60 per cent increase from the last year's figure.
Researchers reveal that ransomware demands would sometimes reach up to $5,000,000 but actual costs and damages sustained during attacks are estimated to be larger. Researchers also found out that in 2019, India was among the top five countries targeted by ransomware.