Today’s ransomware and malware attacks are a whole new ball game since they are deliberately designed and aimed at certain internal systems. When it comes to exploit attempts involving the recent high-profile vulnerabilities, the industry is just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Targeted attacks, especially ransomware, are unavoidable, and those who fail to react quickly may pay a high price.
Malicious actors fully exploited the expanded threat environment provided by the rise in remote work in 2020. There was a surge in ransomware attacks. And so far in 2021, cyber criminals have attempted to exploit many Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities using a variety of attacks, as well as a continued ransomware assault.
Cybersecurity risk has never been higher, thanks to the rapid expansion of the possible attack surface, the connectivity of devices and data in a wider digital world, and many organizations’ fragmented and inconsistent approach to security. The latest wave of ransomware and other attacks aimed at exploiting newly discovered critical device flaws is only the latest in a growing campaign by increasingly motivated and sophisticated criminals. As a result, cybersecurity experts must be alert and ready at all times.
Best practices to follow
Despite the fact that every network environment is different, there are measures that every company can take right now to reduce their risk of ransomware and other advanced threats.
- They must have access controls in place, such as zero-trust access, multifactor authentication, and Network Access Control (NAC) solutions. Connect access controls to dynamic segmentation, then use those network partitions to build security zones that can prevent infection from spreading.
- Businesses should use change control systems to create a strategy for responding quickly to emergency patches. Ensure that enhanced security is enabled on all endpoint devices, including anti-exploit and EDR solutions.
- Ensure the network IPS signatures, as well as device antivirus and anti-malware software, are up to date. When companies need to secure devices that can’t be upgraded or patched, this is particularly important.
- Ensure the CDR solutions for deactivating malicious attachments are in place. Use forensic analysis software to figure out where an infection originated from, how long it’s been in the system, which devices were in the way, and so on. It is important to conduct cybersecurity awareness training to prepare for one of the most significant unknowns: the users of the applications and devices.
All of these measures should be oriented toward a single goal – leveraging technology, people, and processes to rapidly gather and correlate threat information about active network attacks and to automatically react using a coordinated approach that leverages all applicable security and technologies, regardless of where they are deployed.
Moving into the future
Ransomware isn’t going anywhere, and thanks to the rise of Ransomware-as-a-Service, the industry will be seeing a spike in the number of attacks. And as ransomware targets become more high-profile, not only is the danger to companies growing, but so are the costs. This is generating a feedback loop in which ransomware activities become highly profitable for threat actors.
Data is no longer the only target asset; services that can be compromised and held for ransom are also targets. For cyber criminals, this strategy provides a higher return-on-investment.
Since threat actors like to take the path of least resistance, they are always on the lookout for the weakest security link. People, infrastructure, supply chains, or poor cyber hygiene may all be to blame. As a result, companies must either continuously improve their game or adopt a security-driven security plan that can respond to a constantly changing threat environment.