In today's interconnected world, where data is the lifeblood of businesses and individuals alike, the threat of ransomware looms large. Cybersecurity and it's value, both for businesses and individuals alike has been a recent hot topic but what exactly is ransomware. Moreover, why should you care?

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware, or malicious software, designed to deny access to a user's data or system until a ransom is paid to the attacker. The primary goal of ransomware is to extort money from victims by threatening to permanently delete or encrypt their valuable files or even render their entire computer system useless. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out by cybercriminals or hacking groups who use a variety of techniques to infiltrate systems and networks.

How Does Ransomware Work?

Ransomware operates through a series of steps, often involving social engineering and advanced encryption techniques:

  1. Infection: Ransomware can infect a system in various ways, including email attachments, malicious links, or exploiting software vulnerabilities. Once inside, it can quickly spread throughout the network.

  2. Encryption: After gaining access, the ransomware malware encrypts files on the victim's computer, rendering them inaccessible without the decryption key, which is held by the attacker.

  3. Ransom Note: Following encryption, a ransom note is typically displayed, informing the victim that their files are locked and providing instructions on how to pay the ransom. Payments are usually demanded in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to maintain anonymity.

  4. Payment: If the victim decides to pay the ransom, they send the cryptocurrency to the specified address. In return, the attacker provides the decryption key needed to unlock the files.

  5. Decryption (Maybe): There is no guarantee that paying the ransom will result in the recovery of files. Some attackers may simply take the money and disappear, leaving victims with encrypted data.

Why is Ransomware a Growing Threat?

Ransomware has evolved into a formidable threat for several reasons:

  1. Lucrative: Ransomware attacks are financially motivated, and cybercriminals stand to make significant profits. This incentive drives them to continually refine their techniques and develop more sophisticated ransomware strains.

  2. Easy Deployment: Ransomware can be delivered through phishing emails, malicious attachments, or compromised websites, making it relatively easy for attackers to infect victims.

  3. Anonymity: Cryptocurrencies enable attackers to receive ransoms anonymously, making it difficult for law enforcement to trace and apprehend them.

  4. Diverse Targets: Ransomware attacks target a wide range of victims, including individuals, businesses, healthcare organizations, and government agencies, making it a pervasive threat.

  5. Data Extortion: In addition to encrypting files, some ransomware strains steal sensitive data, further incentivizing victims to pay the ransom to prevent data leaks.

What Can My Company Do to Address Ransomware Concerns?

Preventing and handling ransomware attacks requires a multi-faceted approach that begins with ensuring you have the right staff with the necessary skills and knowledge. Here's what your company can do:

  1. Hiring Cybersecurity Certified Personnel:

    • Recruit Cybersecurity Experts: Actively seek cybersecurity professionals who are certified in preventing and responding to ransomware attacks. Certifications like (ISC)² Cybersecurity training can be strong indicators of a candidate's preparation.

    • Incident Response Specialists: Consider hiring incident response specialists who are well-versed in handling cybersecurity incidents, including ransomware attacks. Their expertise will be invaluable during and after an attack.

    • Ethical Hackers (Penetration Testers): Ethical hackers can help identify vulnerabilities in your systems before malicious actors do. They can assist in strengthening your organization's defenses against ransomware.

  2. Upskilling Existing Staff:

    • Provide Cybersecurity Training: A collaboration with RTriad's  KnowWon programs can help you identify existing staff members who would benefit from cybersecurity training. KnowWon can help you offer courses, workshops, and resources to help them develop the necessary skills to recognize and respond to cybersecurity threats.

    • Encourage Certifications: Support and incentivize employees to pursue cybersecurity certifications. Financial assistance or time off to study for certification exams can be excellent incentives. Sponsoring employees participation in evening certification programs, like those hosted by RTriad is an easy way to upskill without workday conflicts. 

    • Cross-Training: Consider cross-training employees from different departments to have a basic understanding of cybersecurity practices. This can help create a culture of cybersecurity awareness across the organization.

  3. Work Based Learning & Apprenticeship Programs

    • More than hiring the experienced or upskilling your existing staff, offering work based learning opportunities is an excellent way to discover and grow committed and eager cybersecurity talent.

    • Work with RTriad industry experts to develop career pathways and contribute to creating your ideal employee skillset. 

  4. Retain and Reward Top Talent:

    • Once you've invested in hiring or upskilling cybersecurity personnel, it's important to retain them. Offer competitive salaries, benefits, and career development opportunities to keep your cybersecurity experts motivated and engaged.



Ransomware is a pervasive and evolving threat that can have devastating consequences for its victims. By actively recruiting and upskilling staff with cybersecurity expertise, Human resources departments can play a crucial role in strengthening an organization's defenses against ransomware attacks and promoting a cybersecurity-conscious culture throughout the company.


KW-LI (5)


KnowWon Content Team
Post by KnowWon Content Team
September 13, 2023