Ransomware attacks have been on the rise lately, as cybercriminals find them profitable for a variety of reasons.
Unfortunately, many organizations still don’t pay enough attention to security vulnerabilities and fail to defend their most important assets against attackers.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the current ransomware context and suggest some tips on combating ransomware attacks.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a special and hazardous form of malware from cryptovirology, capable of causing great financial damage to victims. Most ransomware attacks target companies, institutions, and organizations, as attackers know their business well and where the big money is.
Hackers use this extortion software to encrypt your data, deny you access to your files or your entire computer, and provide you the decrypting key only in exchange for a ransom ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
Usually, payments to cybercriminals are made through anonymous and untraceable methods, such as Bitcoin. Furthermore, hackers will employ a double-extortion technique in which they threaten to leak the stolen data if the ransom goes unpaid.
Ransomware is constantly being re-written and tweaked by its developers to avoid being spotted by typical antivirus programs based on its signature.
Report On Ransomware Trends Shows Concerning Numbers
According to a report released by cyber threat intelligence provider Check Point Research, human-operated ransomware attacks have seen a substantial increase, such as Maze and Ryuk. In these cases, you’d have to negotiate directly with the criminals who hit your company.
This spring only, the number of organizations compromised by ransomware jumped by 57%, reaching a total of 3,868. Over the course of this year, this unfortunate percent has risen another 9% per month so far.
A more prevalent threat of this year has been (and still is) the infamous WannaCry worm, which affected in 2021 53% more companies worldwide compared to last year.
9 Tips Against Ransomware Attacks
Here are some helpful tips to help you keep your organization safe from ransomware attacks:
- Back up all your data. Remember to back-up your company’s data frequently and regularly. If you’re unlucky enough to fall victim to a ransomware attack, reverting to the most recent backup should be easy peasy. Mind you, this isn’t an actual attack counter-measure, but the aftermath won’t be nearly as devastating.
- Keep your software up-to-date. Outdated software often has vulnerabilities that hackers will eagerly exploit to get access to your network. The above-mentioned WannaCry infects unpatched systems to spread. Most of these vulnerabilities have been patched for years now, but many organizations still haven’t updated their software.
- Use reliable threat detecting tools. A great measure against ransomware attacks is to set in place an automated threat detection system. This way, you can detect and resolve them before anything disastrous happens.
- Use multi-factor authentication. This method will force your employees to verify their identity in more than one way before they’re granted access to a system. If a password does ever leak to cybercryminals, they still won’t be able to easily infiltrate your network.
- Use the least privilege principle. Your employees should only have access to data that they truly need to do their job and nothing more. Keeping in mind your company’s hierarchy, restricting access will have a quarantine-like effect, decreasing the impact of potential attacks and reducing the number of entry points.
- Supervise emails and files. Emails are hackers’ top choice when they go phishing. They will bombard your employees with sketchy emails with infected attachments or links and hope for the best (which is the worst for you). Consider implementing an ongoing process of scanning and monitoring emails, and also an automated email security solution to keep phishers from reaching users. For maximum protection, file activity should not be overlooked either.
- Use anti-ransomware solutions. Ransomware must perform some abnormal actions, such as infecting your systems and encrypt large files. To avoid ransomware slipping through the cracks of typical protection software, use a specialized security solution instead. These programs have the ability to spot ransomware attempts by monitoring programs running on a computer, and stop encryption before any further damage is done.
- Train your employees on cybersecurity. Last, nut not least on our list is implementing a fitted security awareness training program in your company. This is perhaps one of the most important measures against ransomware attacks that you need to consider, because employees are often the weak link in your chain that hackers target. Cybercriminals manage to succeed because of bad employee habits or just pure ignorance.
Here, at ATTACK Simulator, we take cybersecurity seriously. For example, we know that most ransomware attacks are carried out through phishing, which is why we focus on training, educating, and equipping your staff with the best up-to-date security practices they need to spot and deflect phishing attempts.
Train your employees to stay away from cyberthreats with Attack Simulator’s comprehensive 4-Step Phishing Simulations.
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