THE SHOP

October '21

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6 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2021 R ansomware has long been consid- ered an economic nuisance, but the recent proliferation of well-publi- cized cyberattacks shows it has grown into a national threat. A ransomware attack on Colonial Pipe- line in May led to gas shortages and resulted in a 75-bitcoin ransom payment—about $4.5 million. Weeks later, an attack on JBS SA, the world's largest meat processor, was resolved with a ransomware payment of close to $11 million. Still largely hidden from public view, however, are attacks on small busi- nesses—including instances in the automotive aftermarket i n d u s t r y — t h a t d o n't make headlines. While ransomware has become a multibillion- dollar threat, the average payment demanded in 2020 was only $310,000, with many payments in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. So, what can a performance, restyling or customization professional do to reduce the risk of becoming a ransomware victim? And how do you handle it if you are attacked? The ethics and morality of making these payments aside, the question of how to make a ransomware payment and how to use the cybercurrency market arises. And then there are steps that can be taken via taxes and insurance to reduce the pain of many ransomware payments. WHAT IS RANSOMWARE? Ransomware is a type of malicious soft- ware, or malware, that prevents a business from accessing its computer files, systems or networks and demands payment of a ransom for their return. Ransomware can unknowingly be down- loaded onto a computer by opening an email attachment, clicking an ad, fol- lowing a link or even visiting a website that's embedded with malware. Once the code is loaded on a computer, it will lock access to data and files, or even the computer itself. More menacing ver- sions can encrypt files and folders on local drives, attached drives and even networked computers. Obviously, ransomware attacks can cause costly disruptions to operations and the loss of critical information and data. In many situations, the business is unaware its computers have been infected. It is usually discovered when data can no Ransomware Understanding Any business with a computer is at risk, so what can you do to protect your data? By Mark E. Battersby Ransomware has long been considered an economic nuisance, but the recent proliferation of well-publicized cyberattacks shows it has grown into a national threat.

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