KnowBe4 Signals Recent Events Show Ransomware Has Gone Mainstream

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Hollywood does its part to promote cybersecurity awareness month; helps spread the word that ransomware is a real threat

Ransomware demanding Bitcoin for payment

CryptoWall Ransom Note

(Network TV) covering ransomware is significant. It not only signifies the impact and broad invasion by ransomware, but takes a stab at showing just how easy and quick it is to shut down a network - CEO KnowBe4

KnowBe4 commended Hollywood this week, noting nearly 11 million viewers got a dose of ransomware Sunday night (October 20th), with CBS’s ‘The Good Wife’ depicting the grim realities of what it means to be infected. While ransomware has continued to spread, many organizations have to deal with the repercussions and expense involved with having their networks frozen. Like the television show, a company can literally have its operations shut down within an hour by encrypting their information. And similar to the TV show but in real life, one KnowBe4 customer had their seven servers killed and 75 Gigs of data encrypted in just 55 minutes.

“As one of network television's overall Top 25 shows this past week, covering ransomware is significant. It not only signifies the impact and broad invasion by ransomware, but takes a stab at showing just how easy and quick it is to shut down a network.”, said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4, a Tampa, FL-based internet security awareness training company. “Should ransomware hit a key employee or perhaps a CEO or CFO, it can do immense damage.”

As Cybersecurity Awareness month comes to an end, KnowBe4 warns users and network administrators alike that the cyber criminals don’t stop. In fact, Sjouwerman predicts that the Russian cyber mafias will step up their activities in anticipation of increased holiday spending. The “new and improved” Version 2 of the world's most widespread ransomware CryptoWall, continues to encrypt files so that a ransom can be extracted if there are no backups or if the backup process fails, often a common occurrence.

Personal information is taken from data breaches like the Home depot, Target and similar hacks. Cyber criminals then use this information and email addresses to spear-phish their targets, hoping to get more detailed financial information and passwords. From mid 2013 to mid 2014, Russian cybercrime brought in 2.5 billion dollars, as reported in a report from Group-IB.

Sjouwerman advises continued diligence by users and businesses alike. KnowBe4 advises:

1. Make regular backups, and have a backup off-site as well. TEST the restore function regularly to make sure backups actually work.
2. Patch browsers as soon as possible, and keep the amount of plug-ins as low as possible as this will diminish the attack surface.
3. Step all users through effective training on security such as Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training to prevent malware infections to start with.

Sjouwerman says, “Think before you click. Don’t open anything from someone unless you are expecting it. Hover over an email address to make sure its from a valid domain, one you know and recognize. Backup your critical data in multiple locations that are not connected to your network as if you get ransomware, anything connected is a target.”

KnowBe4 offers a free Phishing Security Test(PST) to find out just how many of your users are Phish-prone. KnowBe4 also offers a Crypto-Ransom guarantee and is confident its training works so well, they will pay your ransom if you get hit with ransomware while you are a customer.

For more information on KnowBe4 visit

For more information on ransomware, download the whitepaper Your Money or Your Files!

About Stu Sjouwerman and KnowBe4
Stu Sjouwerman (pronounced “shower-man”) is the founder and CEO of KnowBe4, LLC, which provides web-based Security Awareness Training (employee security education and behavior management) to small and medium-sized enterprises. A data security expert with more than 30 years in the IT industry, Sjouwerman was the co-founder of Inc. 500 company Sunbelt Software, an award-winning anti-malware software company that he and his partner sold to GFI Software in 2010. Realizing that the human element of security was being seriously neglected, Sjouwerman decided to help entrepreneurs tackle cybercrime tactics through advanced security awareness training. KnowBe4 services hundreds of customers in a variety of industries, including highly-regulated fields such as healthcare, finance and insurance and is experiencing explosive growth with a surge of 427% in 2013 alone. Sjouwerman is the author of four books, with his latest being Cyberheist: The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses.

About Kevin Mitnick
Kevin Mitnick is an internationally recognized computer security expert with extensive experience in exposing the vulnerabilities of complex operating systems and telecommunications devices. He gained notoriety as a highly skilled hacker who penetrated some of the most resilient computer systems ever developed. Today, Mitnick is renowned as an information security consultant and speaker, and has authored three books, including The New York Times best seller Ghost in the Wires. His latest endeavor is a collaboration with KnowBe4, LLC.

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Kathy Wattman
KnowBe4, LLC
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