A CISOs Playbook for Anti-Ransomware Day

A CISOs Playbook for Anti-Ransomware Day

Ransomware is one of the serious threats businesses of all sizes, types, and industries must stay secure from. INTERPOL dubbed anti-ransomware day on May 12 to increase awareness across industries, businesses, and users against ransomware attacks and their potential risks.

Ransomware is a constantly evolving malware that cybercriminals can use to encrypt and render files, systems, and devices that businesses rely on, making them unusable. These malicious actors then demand ransom from the organization to decrypt the files, systems, and devices to make them usable again.

With the easy availability of Ransomware-as-a-Service, even amateur cybercriminals can accomplish full-blown cyber-attacks, cripple the business network and extort ransom from the victim organization.

A recent report by Thales titled “2023 Thales Data Threat” highlights the increase in ransomware attacks. Nearly 48% of IT professionals report a surge in ransomware attacks, with almost 22% of the respondents having faced a ransomware attack in the last 12 months. According to a recent report by Black Fog titled “The State of Ransomware in 2023,” in January 2023, there were almost 33 publicly disclosed ransomware attacks. Despite the increasing numbers, the 2023 Thales Data Threat report also highlights that almost 51% of organizations do not implement a formal ransomware plan.

In this article, let’s explore the opportunities that SecOps teams and cybersecurity leaders can consider on Anti-ransomware Day 2023 to strengthen their cybersecurity posture against the significant ransomware threat.

Strategies to Consider on the Anti-Ransomware Day

Do not Pay Ransom and Spread the Word

Cybercriminal attackers are becoming more sophisticated with the easy availability of cybercrime-as-a-service. In today’s modern cyber threat landscape, organizations cannot avoid cyber-attacks despite a strong cybersecurity posture implemented. Paying the ransomware will make the cybercriminals stronger because they achieve their goals.

Organizations that pay the ransom make them more vulnerable to future attacks because other criminals will also start targeting such organizations as they will fulfill the cybercriminal’s demands. Additionally, most organizations do not let the news of being ransomware attack victims go out. The main reason behind not letting the news go public is to avoid a negative brand image or legal litigation.

Trevor Dearing, anti ransomware day“Ransomware is becoming a serious issue and will not go anywhere anytime soon, so enterprises must report details of breaches to help others strengthen resilience. Attempting to cover up successful attacks, particularly ransomware ones, only makes future attacks more likely. The same applies to paying ransoms which only gives attackers more ammunition,” says Trevor Dearing, Director of Critical Infrastructure at Illumio.

Organizations that witness a ransomware attack should let the vulnerability or vector used by the cybercriminals make other businesses aware of the threats.

“As well as the fear of compliance fines, one of the concerns is that many enterprises still have not fully accepted that breaches will happen. Once businesses become comfortable with that fact and shift security strategies from breach prevention to breach containment, then they should be more comfortable disclosing attacks when they occur,” adds Trevor.

Implement a Zero Trust Approach

Another effective anti-ransomware strategy business security leaders can consider, is implementing a zero-trust security strategy. A zero-trust cybersecurity posture allows businesses to validate all the users before they are offered access to the business network. CISOs should consider designing and enforcing the best zero-trust approach to protect their organization from ransomware threats.

“To prevent and mitigate the impact of cyberattacks, enterprises must adopt a Zero Trust approach to security. This means treating all users, devices, and networks as potential threats and requiring verification before granting access to resources. Doing so will help build resilience, prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and assets, and reduce the risk of attacks spreading throughout the network,” adds Trevor.

Educate Resources to Never Click on Unverified Links

The SecOps teams must set effective cybersecurity training modules for the entire workforce to implement the best practices. Awareness of not clicking on suspicious or unverified links has to be a part of user information. Most of the time, cybercriminals distribute the ransomware through a malicious link that starts a malware download.

If the malware gets installed on the computer, it can encrypt the organization’s sensitive data and hold it hostage making it only accessible to someone with a decryption key. Malicious link is one of the most used vectors to spread malware on compromised systems. Hence, organizations should clarify with the resources not to click on unverified links.

Evaluate Emails for Malware

One of the most effective anti-ransomware strategies is scanning all email communications. SecOps teams on the anti-ransomware day should prioritize integrating email scanning tools on their cybersecurity tech stack to detect malicious software. Once the scanner identifies malware, the organization discards the email without reaching the inbox.

The malicious actors have become very sophisticated; they embed malicious attachments or files within the email body that may appear innocent. Scanning every email to identify such files can help to prevent the device or systems on the business network from getting infected.

Also Read: Best Approaches to Prevent and Mitigate Risks of Account Take Over (ATO)

Maintain a Data Back up

Cyber attackers always look for organizations that depend on certain data to ensure smooth operations. Organizations with sensitive data where such information plays a crucial role in daily operations consider paying the demanded extortion to regain access to their sensitive data. One of the best anti-ransomware strategies is regularly backing up crucial data.

Enterprises that keep a backup of the data at a device or location that usually is not accessed will be able to recover the data in case of a successful ransomware attack. It is crucial for organizations to frequently back up their data on a different server to ensure business continuity in case of a severe ransomware attack.

On Anti-Ransomware Attack Day 2023, businesses must reevaluate their ransomware defense mechanism and make strategic changes to ensure resilience.

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