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Omega Technical Solutions has been serving the Haymarket area since 2007, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How Ransomware is a Danger to Your Business and Your Customers

How Ransomware is a Danger to Your Business and Your Customers

Ransomware is not just a business problem; it is also a consumer and user problem. While it might lock down your business’ files and make them inaccessible, there is also the possibility that the cybercriminals will steal and sell the data on the black market rather than safely return it. What happens to users who have had their data stolen during a ransomware attack?

Ransomware is Dangerous to All; Not Just Your Business

Ransomware is a societal problem rather than one that exclusively impacts businesses. Even just a few short years ago, you could see that ransomware was going to be a serious problem for all. Just look at the considerable variety in targets from 2021-2023:

  • In 2021, ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS meat processing led to panics about shortages.
  • Attacks on school systems, healthcare providers, transportation, government services... ultimately harm those who rely on them. 
  • Most data leaks involve consumer information. In fact, research by IBM revealed that customer PII was the most commonly breached record type from 2021 to 2023.
  • Ransomware doesn’t just lock down data until a ransom is paid. It steals data, sells it, and shares it, all while locking it down for the attacked business. 
  • A massive healthcare network that covers 19 states has been suffering from a ransomware attack the last month, forcing hundreds of hospitals and practices to switch to pen and paper for their processes.

Second-Order Harm

Regarding the degree of damage that ransomware can cause, there is research out of a security think tank called the Royal United Services. They released a paper this year that ranked various “orders” of harm based on how far removed they were from the attack.

  1. First-Order Harms impacted the business that was attacked and its direct staff.
  2. Second-Order Harms impacted organizations downstream from the attacked business as well as the individuals who relied on or trusted the attacked business.
  3. Third-Order Harms impacted entire societies, organizations, and governments through all the ransomware incidents the collective experienced on an economic and security-based level.

The paper itself makes some interesting points, but we’re going to primarily focus on the second-order individuals as victims.

How Ransomware is Involved in Second-Order Harms

Ransomware affects businesses in different ways, and as such, there are different second-order harms that could also come about as a result. The paper claims:

“Given the digital dependencies of most businesses and service providers in modern economies and societies, individuals have significant exposure to ransomware harms.”

The paper cites certain specific cases for second order victims, including hospital visitors or those undergoing medical treatment, socially housing residents, and so on. There are also other financial harms, like with other threats that target personally identifiable information or financial records.

The psychological damage, however, is perhaps the most critical. If someone lacks services provided by the government or their healthcare provider due to ransomware, they might be under a fair amount of stress, while also being at risk of double-extortion.

If your identity were stolen because you gave your information to a business, you certainly wouldn’t appreciate it, right? You’d probably never want to work with that business again as a result. The same could be said if you are a business who works with a vendor, and that vendor is the one who suffers from a ransomware attack. You’d never want to work with them again.

We’ll Protect Your Business and Your Customers from Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the most dangerous threats that your business can face, and we know that it can be intimidating. That’s why we try to make it as easy as possible for your business by managing the counteroffensive against ransomware for you. With Omega Technical Solutions on your side, you’ll never have to worry about your business’ security or its customers’. Contact us at (703) 743-3056 to learn more.

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