Tips for protecting your business against cyber extortion

CrytoLocker is malware cyber criminals use to encrypt the contents of a computer until users pay up.

But that’s only one type of cyber extortion, according to Tim Francis, enterprise cyber lead at Hartford, Conn.-based insurance company Travelers.

Criminals can also threaten to shut down computer systems or erase data, to infect a company with a virus, to publish proprietary information or personally identifiable information of customers or employees, launch a denial-of-service attack, or hold social media accounts hostage.

Criminals can also start the attack first, and refuse to stop until the money is paid.

It’s no longer just a lone disgruntled employee targeting a single company, Francis said. CryptoLocker is just one example of how cyber extortion technology has been commodified, making it accessible to a wider variety of criminals.

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