Ransomware Is No Joke. Things I Am Thinking For Mid-September. The Greatest Antagonist. Cheesesteaks, Anyone? CSNY.
- By definition, Ransomware is a malware (software developed for malicious intent) designed to deny a user or organization access to files on their computer. By encrypting these files and demanding a ransom payment for the decryption key, cyberattackers place organizations in a position where paying the ransom is the easiest and cheapest way to regain access to their files.
Most of us are aware of ransomware with relative thinking that these attacks are primarily a nuisance, with you or your organization’s files encrypted until you pay a small payment to have them “released”, or decrypted. Nuisance is definitely not the correct way to describe a ransomware attack, as there has been a dramatic increase in both the frequency and severity of attacks. Today’s cybercriminals are more sophisticated, finding new ways to evade detection and infect devices.
Last week, cybercriminals went after Caesars Entertainment, the conglomerate that has many hotels under their umbrella, including Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, and the Flamingo. Las Vegas’ MGM hotel endured a cyber-attack back in 2019 as well, with the personal information of 142 million guests stolen by hackers and posted to a dark web cybercrime marketplace. Note: it has been reported that Caesars paid the cybercriminals $15 million to have their data decrypted. Before payment was made, the malicious software used by the cybercriminals caused long lines at check-ins, no phone service, no room service, and payouts from the casino taking up to sixty minutes.
Certainly not a benchmark, but in 2021, Chicago’s CNA Financial ended up paying out $40 million to cyber criminals to regain control of their network. Preventing these types of attacks, even with cybersecurity protocols in place, can be very difficult. As a baseline, here are a few things you and your organization can do to help prevent malware from entering your computer, phone, tablet, or your organization’s network. Samir, please chime in with any other thoughts on how to prevent malware from ‘entering’ devices or a network:
- Backing up important data is the single most effective way of recovering from a ransomware infection.
- Keep your system up-to-date, and use a newer version of antivirus software, like Microsoft Defender.
- Think twice, and then three times, before clicking links or downloading files.
- Do not trust pop-up windows that ask you to download software.
Seven Random Thoughts For Mid-September
- It is ALREADY Mid-September!
- Delta Air Lines: I certainly understand that all organizations must segregate their customer and prospect bases by spend (or potential spend), but revising your loyalty programs without a component of tenure and loyalty is a misstep.
- Cable television providers are quickly retooling their go-to-market strategies by becoming resellers of streaming services. There is no doubt that traditional cable television service is on its way out – and with the National Football League and Major League Soccer offering league games via Amazon, YouTube, and Apple, streaming services have shown us that once the massive television rights contracts are up, sports and news programming will morph over to streaming service platforms.
- The UAW is on strike, demanding a 36% wage increase over four years, a defined benefit pension, and a thirty-two-hour work week. This does not bode well for America’s ‘Big Three’ automakers, Ford, GM, and Stellantis, who produce cars for Chrysler. Dovetail these demands with a very tight labor market and who really does know how this will get resolved? As many as 150,000 workers could be affected by this labor strike.
- Whether you like watching golf on TV or not, this week’s Ryder Cup, played at Marcone Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy, is usually must-see TV. The biennial men’s competition is between teams from Europe and the U.S. Depending on the results of the first two days (Friday and Saturday), the singles matches on Sunday are always fun to watch.
- College and Pro football are up and running. So are international football leagues including England, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Major League Baseball is heading into their playoffs as well as Major League Soccer. Fun, and more fun.
- Supply chain issues have bubbled up once more, this time due to the drought condition of the Panama Canal. This man-made canal connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. Yes, I am going to ask: How can a canal that flows from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean be in a drought condition? Can someone just open the faucet at one end of the canal and let in some water?
- Headline of the Week: New Godzilla Minus One Images Reveal Closer Look At Godzilla’s Destructive Rampage
Godzilla: The Greatest Antagonist to Ever Roam Earth?
- Is the sky falling? Absolutely not, but what is the world (specifically Philadelphia) coming to when you read this: Philadelphia cheesesteak shop hires armed agents to protect customers outside.
I get it. Neil Young, along with David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash are not for everyone. Their folk-rock music set the stage for early 1990’s grunge, but I think CSNY are one of the most underrated acts of all time. Again, not for everyone, but this rendition of Cinnamon Girl, performed at 2017 Live Aid, makes you wonder if similar music will ever return.