Ransomware is rapidly evolving into an extremely lucrative criminal enterprise for individual hackers and cybercriminal gangs. These criminal elements focus on businesses and markets that are either rich and/or possess information that would be extremely valuable to the overall health of a company -- information that a company would pay almost any price to preserve. In the case of recruitment companies, a list of talented and desirable prospective employees along with important point-of-contact (POC) information is the lifeblood of these organizations. Losing access to this information would be extremely painful to these companies so many elect to pay this ransom to regain the ability to run their businesses.
In a Q1 2016 report on IT threat evolution Kapersky Labs stated that ransomware "could well be the main problem of the year" due to the relative ease in developing and deploying a ransomware Trojan. The most obvious effect of ransomware on recruitment companies is financial both due to the lost business as a result of corrupted data and the cost associated with paying the ransom. The problem has been especially acute in Europe as hackers from the former Soviet republics are targeting critical infrastructure and business operations.
The second negative effect of ransomware is a significant loss of trust by organizations who contract with recruitment companies. Due to the distress and distraction incurred when responding to these attacks, companies may 'cut corners' in trying to match a candidate to an organizational opening. This results in dissatisfaction from the organization and a reluctance to contract with the recruitment company in the future as the costs associated with bad recruiting can be very expensive.
The third negative effect of ransonware is the potential for temporary or permanent loss of proprietary information. Even if a recruitment company pays the specified ransom, there is no guarantee that the cybercriminal will provide the necessary key to unencrypt the affected data. Furthermore, the ease by which ransomware can proliferate through a network could result in any backup data being seized and compromised as well.
With all of the negative effects associated with ransomware, the benefits of having a recognized cybersecurity expert protect a company's critical data and reputation are both tangible and clear. These attacks will continue to increase for the foreseeable future so only well-designed preventive measure will prevent a company from suffering harm as a result of ransomware.