Ransomware is swiftly becoming one of the most visible cyber-security issues. The simplicity with which ransomware assaults can be launched, a larger attack surface as a result of rapid digitization, and the anonymity provided by cryptocurrency payments to hackers have all contributed to the spread of this epidemic. Looking to Hire a cyber security experts for your business.
But can ransomware assaults be avoided? And, if so, what precautions can organisations take to prevent ransomware? This and other topics are covered in this blog.
What are ransomware attacks?
Ransomware attacks can be generated by a variety of software that infiltrates victim systems and encrypts files and data until a ransom is paid. Infections of ransomware may quickly spread via a network, bringing entire enterprises to its knees in minutes.
Given that ransomware attacks can prevent access to company data for days or weeks at a time, they can result in significant commercial loss and have far-reaching ramifications for an organisation or its customers that go beyond monetary damage.
As we recently observed in the instance of the Colonial Pipeline attack, gas supplies on the US East Coast were significantly disrupted for nearly a week. In another heartbreaking case, an Alabama hospital was purportedly sued because a baby died at birth because the facility was unable to provide necessary care while dealing with a ransomware assault.
This was the first credible public lawsuit asserting a ransomware attack as the cause of death and medical malpractice.
These cases demonstrate the far-reaching and devastating effects that ransomware attacks may have on organisations and individual lives.
What is the overarching theme here?
Businesses and governments must think about and invest in ransomware protection as soon as possible.Ransomware must be one of your Incident Response Plan’s primary emphasis areas.
Furthermore, this plan must be practised over and over again, using Ransomware Tabletop Exercises, until it becomes part of the decision-makers’ muscle memory.
How do ransomware attacks happen?
The most typical type of ransomware assault is a phishing attack. This could indicate that a member of the organisation downloaded a malware attachment from a suspicious email. It’s also possible that someone visited an infected website and unwittingly downloaded malware to their laptop or mobile device. Looking to Hire a cyber security Engineer for your business.
Essentially, ransomware attacks are more likely in settings where end-user knowledge is low and there is a lack of fundamental cybersecurity education and awareness. As a result, cyber event preparation and response training for all employees is now mandatory.
This is not to imply that even when employees and/or executives are aware of cybersecurity hygiene and best practises, mistakes might occur, allowing hackers to triumph.
Can you protect yourself against ransomware attacks?
At Cyber Management Alliance, we always encourage our clients to be prepared for when they will be attacked, rather than if they will be attacked.
When, not if, read that again.
However, in the case of ransomware assaults, the storey is slightly different. As previously said, ransomware attacks are most commonly the result of human error, such as careless web browsing, weak passwords, and so on. In the instance of Colonial Pipeline, it was ONE leaked password that was able to hold the largest petroleum pipeline in the world’s greatest economy hostage.
So, if a company takes some simple efforts to educate its employees and implement proper cybersecurity policies, it is easy to keep bad actors from blocking your data and locking you out of your own systems.
There are various resources available online, such as our Ransomware Checklist, which outlines a few fundamental measures to verify your company’s Ransomware Readiness. You may always invest in our Ransomware Assessment to get a true picture of where your company stands in terms of its ability to prevent ransomware attacks or how exposed it is to them.
What can you do to protect yourself from ransomware attacks?
First and first, let us state unequivocally that no one in the world is aware of the secret code for completely averting ransomware assaults. If they had, behemoths like Travelex and Colonial Pipeline would never have fallen victim to ransomware assaults and had to pay the ransom.
However, there are several steps you can take to improve your preparedness and response to ransomware assaults.
Here are some simple ransomware avoidance advice from Amar Singh, CEO of Cyber Management Alliance and a globally recognised cybersecurity leader who has assisted numerous worldwide organisations in preparing for and responding to ransomware attacks:
- Properly manage your privileged users: They must be educated how to utilise their privileged credentials as well as how to protect them. As previously demonstrated, all it takes is one leaked privileged credential to cause havoc.
- Privileged users must be made aware of their role in the organization’s overall cybersecurity strategy, particularly in the case of ransomware attacks.
- Spares: Every cybersecurity expert will tell you that data backups are vital for ransomware prevention.
- The rationale is simple: if you have excellent offline backups and can keep them from becoming encrypted when ransomware strikes your organisation, you can swiftly recover your data and go back to business.When a hacker demands a ransom, you don’t have to pay, and that’s half the war won!
- Changes: Again, this is a pretty simple step that many of us fail to implement. Security patches and regular upgrades are required regardless of the operating system. You should also avoid utilising out-of-date operating systems.
These methods only scrape the surface of what you can do in your organisation to prevent ransomware.
The Economic Impact of Ransomware
A ransomware attack can cost a company thousands of dollars in lost productivity and data. Attackers with data access will blackmail victims into paying the ransom by threatening to leak data and expose the data breach, thus firms that do not pay quickly enough may face further consequences such as brand harm and litigation.
Because ransomware halts productivity, the first measure is containment. Following containment, the organisation has the option of restoring from backups or paying the ransom. Law enforcement is involved in investigations, but tracking out ransomware creators takes time, which just delays recovery. The vulnerability is identified through root-cause analysis, but any delays in recovery have an impact on productivity and business revenue.