For twenty years, hackers have tried to breach organization’s networks by finding or breaking holes in the network’s perimeter, or in exposed servers. This led to the cybersecurity industry creating software designed specifically to stop these threat actors in the act. This, in essence, created a situation where the perimeter of an organization’s network was extremely hard to breach. The problem was that as soon as something was able to get through the outer defenses, there was no end to the devastation a hacker could cause inside a network.
On March 22, 2018, a remote-triggered ransomware called “SamSam” demanded a one-time payment of $51,000 be made to restore the city of Atlanta, Georgia’s, data. Despite an operating budget somewhere in the neighborhood of $625 million, Atlanta’s municipal leaders refused to pay the fine. The “hostage situation” has cost the city over $2 million already with an expected $9.5 million more likely to be spent restoring and re-enforcing the municipality’s network and infrastructure. This doesn’t take into account downtime and the significant amount of data lost in the hack. Whether or not you think it’s a good idea to not pay the ransom, if a whole city – especially one as large as Atlanta – can effectively be crippled by a single hack, you better believe that your business has to get serious about its cybersecurity efforts.