Ransomware is Taking a Psychological Toll on Cyber Security Experts

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Cyber Security Experts

Going up against and being disillusioned by faceless cyber-criminal gangs, unsurprisingly, creates significant psychological implications.

People tend to focus on the devastating impact of ransomware, measuring it in terms of financial losses. But a successful attack also takes a psychological toll on people, with organizations reporting a lower confidence level in their ability to defend against Ransomware. Ransomware can turn to be devastating to businesses with unexpectedly long-lasting financial impact and unforgettable mental trauma.

But, the psychological impact is usually missed or under-noticed — at least on paper — the people should be responsible for firefighting them in the aftermath.

It’s not a secret that cybersecurity can become a less-than-rewarding thing. Cybersecurity skills are not very common, and professionals who know the tools as well as the market very well, are far and few. They often carry a huge load of responsibility towards protecting their organization and can face challenges in budget allocation or acquisition or simply being counted among leadership — despite the cyber-attacks representing, arguably, the gravest threat to businesses today.

In a recent report, Cybersecurity: The Human Challenge by the cyber security company Sophos, reveals that businesses are never the same after being hit by ransomware. Besides missed or lost business, downtime, or reputational impact, the report highlights that IT managers’ confidence and their approach to tackling cyber-attacks differs enormously depending on whether or not they have been attacked.

The report clearly indicates that — as the frequency, sophistication, and damage of cyber-attacks continue to worsen — going up against and being thwarted by the unidentifiable cyber-criminal gangs who carry psychological implications are adding up to the burdensome task cyber security leaders face currently.

Read More: Realizing Enterprise threat visibility versus real-time operational issues

For instance, IT managers at businesses hit by ransomware are nearly thrice as likely to feel “significantly behind” while understanding cyber threats compared to their peers in firms unaffected (17% against 6%).

All this could chip away at the satisfaction cyber security specialists gain in their careers. The findings go some way to explain why over one-third (35%) of ransomware victims confirm that retaining and recruiting skilled IT security professionals was the single biggest cyber security challenge, compared with just 19% of those who hadn’t been hit.

Among organizations that have been hit hard by ransomware, priorities can shift as well, with the scales drifting away from threat prevention to response — diverting dedicated resources towards dealing with incidents instead of stopping them in the first place.

This shift indicates that ransomware victims have many more incidents to deal with overall underlying risks. However, it equally indicates that they are comparatively more alert to the complicated, multi-stage nature of advanced cyber-attacks and therefore put more resources into detecting and responding to the signs that an attack is imminent.

Read More: RDP remains a key choice for ransomware hackers

Experts need to consider the “near-impossible demands” imposed upon a limited handful of specialists against the multi-faceted ransomware threats.

In case there is a silver line of any successful ransomware attack, it’s their experience that appears to provide business leaders an enhanced appreciation of the importance of skilled cyber security professionals. It’s also; then, time to drive a sense of urgency regarding introducing human-led threat hunting for improved understanding and identification of the latest attacker behavior.

Regardless of the reasons, it is evident that no organization is ever the same again after facing a ransomware attack – both in terms of financial and mental impact.