Ransomware is one of the most prominent and prolific IT threats of recent years. Within hours of a device being affected, a company's whole IT infrastructure can become paralysed, grinding the business slowly to a halt. When hit by such an attack, IT professionals and users alike experience a range of different feelings, from panic to confusion to dread - and beyond.
As a reseller, you will have to help deal with the fallout of such an attack efficiently and effectively, and it is important to not let these feelings, while understandable, get in the way. Bojan Dusevic, Senior Director, Product Management at Intermedia reviews the seven stages of ransomware grief that your customers will inevitably go through when falling victim to such an attack.
Hit by ransomware? Here are the 7 stages of grief your customers will go through
- Shock: Many people will be right in the middle of working on an important document or catching up on emails when ransomware strikes. In a surreal sequence of events, their screen will go blank and they'll be told: ‘your computer has been locked’. When all attempts at restarting the computer have failed, it will be time for them to come to terms with the shocking and unsettling truth: they've been attacked.
- Denial: The denial phase can often start way ahead of an actual attack. No one ever expects to be the target of a cyber crime. With billions of devices out there, many people believe that the odds of them falling victim to an attack are incredibly slim. All it often takes is for one device to become infected, so ignoring a threat like ransomware will not make the problem go away.
- Anger: Once your customers have come to terms with the new reality they now face, they are likely going to be angry for a while. They will, rightfully, be upset about the situation and you will have to be the voice of reason helping to ensure that their emotions aren't clouding their judgement. The focus should be on how to overcome, not succumb to, this situation.
- Bargaining: Victims of a ransomware attack often face a dilemma if they want to regain control over their devices: they either pay up and hopefully get their data back, or they cut their losses and start again from scratch. Instead of paying the ransom, advise your customers to invest in a solid strategy to bolster email security capabilities that detect and isolate harmful emails and phishing attempts. Additionally, make sure they pursue a long-term, holistic approach with employee training to help individuals identify and report malicious emails and links.
- Guilt: While it is essential to find out how a ransomware attack unfolded, it is important to stress to your customers not to assign blame internally. You should advise your customers to create an open dialogue between them and their employees, that empowers them to speak up, no matter the circumstances. This will help them stay informed about all potential threats and breaches, and establish you as a trusted advisor.
- Feeling Blue: When ransomware occurs, it is crucial to lead by example and take on a solution-oriented approach and a positive attitude. The sooner the situation is diffused, the sooner your customers and their employees can breathe a sigh of relief and feel at ease again.
- Acceptance: Your customers will need to accept that the threat of ransomware is out there and could come back at any time. They need to prepare for any future attacks as soon as possible to avoid losing valuable business hours to downtime or sensitive data being accessed by system intruders again.