Paying Ransomware When it Might be Necessary, But Why it is STILL Reactive…

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For some reason, ransomware payments have been making the news as of late.  Recently, Riviera Beach, Florida made waves by paying out $600,000 to hackers in order to get their system back.  They then went on to claim these damages back from their insurance company.  The result of that is still up in the air.

A bit closer to home, a meat business out of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, called Tony’s Meats Ltd is another victim.  Unfortunately, their backups were all corrupted by the malware and were of no use so they were basically forced into paying a ransom to get their data and systems back online.  Thankfully, Luck aligned for them and their insurance directed them to a 3rd party company that took over the case from there and negotiated payment to the hackers, ensuring that they were able to get the required decryption key back and unlock the company’s systems.  The insurance company also covered most of the cost of the remediation.  Understandably, this case is not the norm as there are many other stories of larger companies still locked in battle with their insurance companies for coverage of the damages they suffered as a result of ransomware and other advanced threats.  

There several takeaways from this – First, that it was a small operation, thus, the ransom was a somewhat manageable $14K.  However, this could be a sign of things to come if hackers start focusing on hitting smaller businesses, but more of them.  Second, Tony’s Meats had a backup system on its server that automatically copied the company’s files every night.  However, the attack happened after hours and the backup had automatically saved the corrupted files, thus corrupting itself; this goes to prove the importance of ensuring that the corruption of the backup is to be avoided at all costs.  The final takeaway is that Tony’s Meats is a smaller operation; as with many small businesses, they need to be more efficient with where they spend they resources, especially when it comes to IT security.  As such, a solution that covers all network traffic in their organization would be a better investment, instead of simply focusing on endpoint protection and backups.  And that’s where Wedge comes in.

We really believe that the best protection is to go with a “Detect and Block” approach as a Proactive Defence.  By utilizing a solution that can SEE all content flowing through the network and block anything that is even remotely suspicious, advanced threats such as ransomware do not stand a chance of breaching the network.  As a way of bolstering their defences, on top of the typical daily backups and updated firewalls, etc. organizations should look at giving WedgeAMB a try.  Wedge offers a FREE 90 day trial of the Wedge Advanced Malware Blocker for those companies looking for a truly Proactive Defence.  Contact us at to learn more!

About Wedge Chief Scientist

Husam Kinawi, Chief Scientist Dr. Kinawi has a PhD and MSc in Computer Science from the Universities of Calgary, Canada and London, UK. In 1997, he co-founded Mpower Technologies Inc., a wireless telecommunications software company. In 1999, Dr. Kinawi co-founded (NASDAQ: AIQT), a Boston-based e-Business applications firm. Dr. Kinawi has over seventeen years of research and development experience working with industry leaders such as Newbridge (Alcatel), Siemens, United Technologies, and Apple in the areas of distributed information systems, embedded applications and wireless Internet solutions. Dr. Kinawi has also spoken at several major conferences, published several research papers, and is the holder of several patents in the area of mobile and wireless devices.
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