Yes, all people, organizations and businesses are vulnerable to ransomware attacks. All internet-connected devices are vulnerable.
Ransomware attackers are cyber criminals who use a method of encrypting other people’s data and holding it hostage on the owner’s computer until the data owner pays the ransom.
Cyber-criminals spread their ransomware from foreign countries using email and websites. Cyber-criminals use automated and highly technical tactics. Cyber-criminals are almost always beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement.
Cyber-criminals use ransomware to target data that has value to the owner, such as documents, spreadsheets and pictures. Once accessed, the cyber-criminals encrypt that data for and hold it for ransom. The result is the data owner CANNOT access the data.
Once your data is encrypted (infected), the ransomware provides the target instructions for paying the ransom to free the data of encryption. Once the ransom is paid, the cyber-criminal ransom provided the key to de-crypt your data (usually, but not always). The ransom ranges from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Ransoms are paid using bitcoin or similar untraceable cyber currency. In some cases, cyber-criminals will target ransomware attacks on specific businesses can demand ransoms in the millions of dollars.
If you’re using the Internet, you cannot totally eliminate the risk of being infected with ransomware. But you can efficiently and effectively manage cyber-risk. You CAN reduce your cyber-risk.