The growing risk of digitalization and cybersecurity threats, along with ransomware attacks can cost businesses millions of dollars. It can possibly even be a bigger threat by impacting the company’s reputation and reliability.
Ransomware can be a severe threat to organizations as it has the ability to tear down an organization by holding its data hostage. In 2020, a notable growth in targeted attacks was observed wherein multistage ransomware was placed into hacking operations. As per a survey by Gartner, 27% of malware cases that had been reported in 2020 were attributed to ransomware.
Hackers usually set off ransomware only after successfully placing it on all computers in the network. Furthermore, before detonating the ransomware they seek to complete several other stages of the attack like password stealing, data theft, and propagation across the network.
However, paying the ransom does no good to the organization; it only validates the amount invested by the cybercriminals into these attacks. Moreover, there are no other means of knowing if the stolen data won’t be silently offered to private consumers. Therefore, businesses should increase their investment in cybersecurity and get ready for the inevitable breach instead of paying the ransom.
According to a 2019 report by Cohesity and Forrester, more than 66% of businesses that said they needed at least 15-30 days to recover data after a ransomware attack was able to recover only about 25-49% of their data.
Cybercriminals are constantly changing their techniques, therefore, CISOs and security directors need robust strategies in place to avoid enormous losses by preparing their organizations for ransomware attacks even before they occur. So, let’s take a look at the following points to minimize the intrusion of threat actors into a company’s network.
The Expanding Attack Surface
Ransomware attacks are a powerful tool used by cybercriminals and are usually discovered only after the malware has encrypted a company’s digital assets. The expanding attack surface as the network perimeter stretches to accommodate the hybrid workplace has opened up more vulnerabilities and opportunities for threat actors.
Employing comprehensive endpoint security solutions is a great way for businesses to prevent a potential ransomware attack. However, sophisticated attackers can now avoid conventional security controls by utilizing stolen credentials and targeting the Active Directory.
Businesses are advised to develop a ransomware incident playbook and run simulations to prepare the IT security team before the real crisis occurs. With the advancement in technology, rapid detection, and response process, defenders can respond even before ransomware hits the environment.
The Changing Face of Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware began as a rapid, untargeted, opportunistic attack. Over time, it has evolved to be modular and multifaceted, unfolding over extended periods. Right from the initial infection to ransomware deployment, attackers enter the compromised network to determine which systems are the most critical before stealing and encrypting files.
As the threat levels of ransomware attacks increase significantly, data protection strategies come to light. The strategy must ensure visibility into other risks such as insider threats and data leakage. Also, a few considerations include implementing privileged access management, creating an identity governance program, and protecting offline backups are critical to prevent attacks.
Finally, organizations must train and educate their employees to keep a close eye on suspicious tricks that cybercriminals usually utilize to gain access to the company network.
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