Can a cloud based system be attacked by Ransomware?

Evolved today as a robust, global threat, Ransomware attacks have become highly prevalent around the globe, having exacerbating effects on the victims. There is no organization, municipality, corporation, or even an individual who could claim themselves to be secure from this epidemic. In fact, with advancements in technology, Ransomware attacks have become even more intense.

According to statistics, Ransomware attacks witnessed a 195% increase in 2019, in comparison to 2018.

This malicious software encrypts the user’s files in the systems and locks the data, rendering it inaccessible for the user. The victim is then required to pay huge sums of money for Ransomware removal as ransom is demanded by the attacker to decrypt the data and regain access.

It is for this reason that there is an increased emphasis on data backup to prevent users from losing their private and confidential information at the hands of the hackers. One of the best shields against ransomware is to back up your data regularly. The ideal way to do so is to save your data on a physical, offline device that may not always be connected to the network. Another efficient storage unit is the cloud-based systems which serve as a cost-efficient and reliable means for storing data.

The majority of the organizations today, large and small, rely heavily on channels such as Google Drive, iCloud, and Microsoft 365, amongst others, for storing their essential data due to their ease of access. Unfortunately, many of these entities are oblivious to the reality that Ransomware is able to access the files stored on the cloud services as well, putting their data on high risk. Ransomware removal for cloud services is also a complex task.

The aim of cloud apps is essential to provide security and protect the data. Cloud apps are based around the user’s identity, which means that only the identified user can access the account.

Despite this, ransomware is still able to penetrate the cloud system. The attackers today have become proficient in their attacks and use advanced techniques and tricks.

Email phishing is a scam commonly employed by the attackers to infect the system with the malware. Once the hacker is able to gain the trust of the user, the user is tricked into opening the infected links and attachment. The malware thereby installs itself on the system, consequently corrupting the device. The data gets encrypted and all the files get locked, including those that are uploaded on the cloud apps as back up. These infected files in the computer, once uploaded to the cloud automatically, sync with the systems of other employees, thereby propagating the malware further, and ultimately encrypting more systems. Ransomware removal then becomes immensely difficult as the security of the companies is highly compromised and the backup data also comes under the influence of the virus.

Firms, especially those that depend solely on cloud-based apps to store data due to their cost efficiency and ease of access have to be extremely cautious now while uploading and storing their files. They need to be aware of the fact that cloud-based security systems are no longer a reliable source and are highly vulnerable to ransomware attacks, which has devastating costs.

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