Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Succumb to the culture of fear

The report of the week

The "culture of fear" is a relatively new term that is closely linked to the mass media. It refers to the changes in behavior or relations that people experience influenced by fear. This term is linked to the media because thanks to the information (or in many cases, misinformation), the fears of the people we are addressing can increase or disappear. This form of manipulation is one of the most dangerous, since it can generate improper behaviors in each individual.

For that reason, ransomware is one of the main weapons of cybercriminals in the network. They take advantage of our disinformation and our fear so that we pay the ransom, when we know that we should not do it. And this happens more than we think according to the latest survey conducted by Carbon Black.

After the WannaCry attack, everyone is on alert. And it is not a surprise, since this incident meant that more than half of Americans (57%) were exposed to how a ransomware works. On the one hand, the high percentage is already alarming. The ransomware has been haunting the network since 2005 and it could be likely that people at least would have heard of the danger. On the other hand, this means that a considerable number of people had never been attacked with ransomware before.

A key point of this type of incident is the loss of customer confidence in companies.
Would consumers consider abandoning a business that has been attacked by ransomware? 72% of respondents would consider leaving their financial institution in such a case. For health care providers and retailers, the percentages are 68% and 70%, respectively. According to the study, "linking this data to what consumers consider most valuable personal information is an interesting exercise."

On the other hand, another key question of the survey was whether respondents would be willing to pay to get their private data back. Slightly more than half of the respondents said they would pay to release their data if their computer was infected with malware. Of these, 12% would pay $500 or more, 29% would be willing to pay between $100 and $500, while the remaining 59% would only pay less than $100 to get their data back.

Thus, financial information tops the list of most valued information (but just slightly above family photos), while medical records are far below with only a 5%. In fact, they are in the same position next to the phone data (messages, contacts, applications, etc.). In the category of "others" respondents were concerned about their game data, their music, their personal texts and their social security number.

Finally, the company also asked the respondents who was responsible for keeping their data safe. Most of the users considered that the responsibility for safeguarding their data was the companies that store them, followed by the cybersecurity companies and then the software providers. In last place, we would find government organizations.

Ignorance is one of the main allies of this culture of fear. And in ignorance we all lose: some people pay (whether they want or not), others can lose their customers, and some others, the real bad ones, never lose. We won’t let them win so easily. At least, let’s get informed and, above all, let’s inform those around us. To fight, we have to read, and try not to be dominated by that ally of ignorance that the culture of fear is.


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