SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Start Over Strategy: Vitamin R!

Start Over Strategy: Vitamin R!

As our journey towards enhanced partner profitability continues, I want to make a turn at the intersection of professional life. I’d like you to reflect on creating a new niche focused on ransomware (ergo the Vitamin R reference).

First – what is a niche? It’s a focused subset of a market. And that old saying is “there are riches in niches” still holds true.

However, being a nicher myself, I would offer that you don’t want to spend more than half of your time in a single niche. A niche doesn’t imply you do one thing 100% of the time. Got it?

Second – let’s talk ransomware. For the purposes of this audience, I don’t need to provide a thesis on “ransomware” and what it is. The oracle of all truth, Wikipedia, share the following insights: “Ransomware is a type of malware that can be covertly installed on a computer without knowledge or intention of the user that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Some forms of ransomware systematically encrypt files on the system's hard drive, which become difficult or impossible to decrypt without paying the ransom for the encryption key, while some may simply lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying. Ransomware typically propagates as a Trojan, whose payload is disguised as a seemingly legitimate file; thus, ransomware is an access-denial type of attack that prevents legitimate users from accessing files.

While initially popular in Russia, the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally;in June 2013, security software vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected over 250,000 unique samples of ransomware in the first quarter of 2013, more than double the number it had obtained in the first quarter of 2012. Wide-ranging attacks involving encryption-based ransomware began to increase through Trojans such as CryptoLocker, which had procured an estimated US$3 million before it was taken down by authorities, and CryptoWall, which was estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have accrued over $18m by June 2015.”

Bottom line: Users are held hostage and have to pay the ransomware terrorist to become whole again, often using untraceable currency such as Bitcoin. In conducting my research, I bumped into a cool start-up focused on ransomware. WinPatrol is a group of industry veterans responding to the ransomware threat with its security solution. It has recently come to market. I’m going to track this company over the summer to see how it fares. One asset already in its corner is Beth Hanneken from Sunbelt Software fame.

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