You’ve heard about ransomware by now. Cybercriminals access and encrypt your data. You have to pay a “ransom” for the key to unlock it. Leakware is similar, but now the bad actors are threatening to post confidential information online if you don’t pay up.

When you think about it, there are probably many things your business wouldn’t want shared publicly. This could be your IP, your secret sauce recipe, your customer database with all the details, or financial data: the works.

The public sector is particularly at risk against leakware, also known as extortionware. Attackers threaten to publish confidential citizen data online. Healthcare organizations are also top targets, with the bad actors saying they will publish the stolen sensitive data online.

Leakware doesn’t just affect you and your business. It can hurt all the people whose data is leaked. That information makes citizens or customers more likely to be victims of fraud or identity theft.

As with ransomware, leakware is costly. Beyond the actual ransom paid, you could pay associated costs such as:

  • downtime
  • lost sales opportunities
  • angry customers
  • attack mitigation and recovery
  • damage to company brand reputation
  • penalties for unmet contractual obligations to customers
  • fines for non-compliance
  • fees for fraud protection offerings to affected individuals

“Nearly 3 out of 4 companies infected with ransomware suffer two days or more without file access.” — Acronis

Leakware – Planning and Prevention

Leakware is a more recent evolution of ransomware. In Johannesburg recently, hackers compromised passwords, and financial and personal population data. They demanded four bitcoins, or else they would reveal the stolen information and how they breached city systems.

The City of Johannesburg chose not to pay, and it’s unknown if the data was released or not.

Preventing a leakware attack requires the same precautions as ransomware. To start, use antivirus software and maintain a strong firewall. It’s important that you keep security software up to date.

Don’t ignore those notifications about system or software version upgrades! They can contain the patches you need to prevent vulnerabilities. Bad actors are always exploiting new methods of spreading malware. Security patching is the manufacturer’s effort to stay ahead of criminals.

It’s also a good idea to limit access based on the principle of least privilege. Authorize users for access only to data, software, or systems that they need based on their roles. When those responsibilities change, reconfigure the user’s access. This makes it more difficult for a bad actor to get all your data, because few people have that level of access.

Set up content scanning and mail server filters. At the same time, don’t rely on technology alone. Educate staff about the risk of social engineering and using public wireless internet. Make sure your people use a trustworthy Virtual Private Network (VPN) when off-site.

Keep good data backups, as well. We recommend the 3-2-1 approach. Keep three copies of your data. Backup one version to the cloud, and have the other two stored on different devices (e.g. on your local computer and on a backup drive).

Leakware and ransomware are on the rise. No business or industry is immune. Protect your data. If you need help with your prevention efforts, give us a call 570-243-9205

Call Underdog Today


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Client Testomonials

We found it very easy to work with Underdog. He gave a very clear and professional quote, he has been promptly responsive in all communications, and the network is working great. I feel very good about using his company for any future IT needs for our business.
Pam Watkins, Forks Bistro
Barton Heights had a very successful computer upgrade due to Underdog.  I met with him 2-3 months before the project and he gave us an estimate of the entire upgrade process involving 31 computers and a server.  He advised us and placed the order.  He also worked with us and ended up revising the estimate twice to completely satisfy our computer upgrade needs.  He added true value to his service as he was willing to perform the upgrade in the evening when we were closed to minimize our down time as we are a paperless business and rely 100% on our computers.  Carmine stepped up and took care of those problems as well, even though that was not his responsibility.  He always responds quickly to any issue that occurs.  I would highly recommend him to anyone!
Dr. Jeremy Wentz., Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital
Tim Stump, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area
Underdog makes you feel that you are his first concern if you have a Server down or you have a small printing question.  We have been with Carmine for 16 years and have only received quality service.
Dee McConnel, Straub Metal International
Thank you Underdog.  Will recommend you from the rooftops.
Law Office of Maria T. Candelaria, Maria Candelaria
12 years in business and I have been there and done that with other IT / Computer biz, and finally found one that listens, asks questions, and comes up with a plan. If you are having issues or just want to see if there are options for and avenues of improvement for your computer / networking needs, checkout Underdog Computer and Network Support LLC. There are some others that are good, but I cannot express the difference enough - they actually get it! Every business IS different with different needs and processes, and they take the time to find what is best for you instead of what they think is best for you! Thank you, Carmine J. Corridore, for allowing me to have a stress free vacation this year! I look forward to working with you in the near future for some serious upgrades!
Carollee Streeter Kidd, CLK Transcription
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Brian Davis, Full Circle Removal
We have used Underdog Computer and Networking for business and personal use.  We have found them easy to schedule an appointment, very responsive, professional, and quick to isolate the problem and/or identify our real need.  We highly recommend Underdog.
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