Stop! Don’t click that e-mail link until you’re sure it’s legit, otherwise you may inadvertently infect your computer, phone or other device with ransomware: a pernicious form of malware (malicious software) that restricts access to your digital resources. A favorite tool of high-tech hijackers, ransomware is capable of holding a computer system or network hostage until payment is made. Attacks can be crippling and they are on the rise—expected to cost organizations $20 billion worldwide this year. Individual consumers can also feel the sting as revealed by the ransomware incident last May that hobbled the Colonial Pipeline along the East Coast of the U.S., impacting millions of gas-seeking motorists. More than half of companies affected by these attacks say their brand has suffered significantly, with 66% of respondents claiming major revenue loss and25% saying that their business had to temporarily shut down. While nearly three-quarters of firms say they have a plan to manage these events, many still remain highly concerned about the risk. And who could blame them?

Primary statistical source: Cybereason Ransomware: The True Cost to Business; unless otherwise stated, all figures are global.

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