Posted on: June 14th, 2016 by Wolf TG Admin

With the growing popularity of ransomware cyber attacks, we thought we’d spend the next few weeks covering the topic so you can better understand what ransomware attacks are, who’s behind them, how to protect against them, and what to do if you become a victim of such an attack. This is post 1 of 6.

RansomwareWhile many organizations are well aware of traditional cyber threats, ransomware seems to be the one cyber threat that no one is talking about. Unfortunately, ransomware may not even be on the map in terms of threats that organizations must mitigate. Because of this, organizations have largely taken a reactive approach to ransomware infections.

Enterprises may even underestimate the possibility of a ransomware attack happening on their network due to the security procedures already in place. What many CIOs fail to realize that is ransomware is becoming more stealth, and in many instances these infections get past traditional security checkpoints.

Now more than ever, IT departments must perform a ransomware threat assessment on their network regardless of the protections already in place.

Market Research About Ransomware Preparedness

A survey conducted by TripWire found that 62% of enterprises are not confident in their ability deal with a ransomware attack. An infographic produced by KnowBe4 indicates that only 16% of IT departments feel as if their current security solutions would be “Very effective” against ransomware.

Ransomware is proving to be an achilles heel for IT departments all around the world. Other tidbits found in KnowBe4’s infographic provides further key insights such as:

  • 47% of respondents said that email was the top ransomware attack vector
  • Only 64% of email filtering solutions are performing up to their specifications
  • 88% of participants said that information security training sessions are the best way to mitigate an attack
  • In a span of 6 months, confidence dropped in endpoint security solutions from 96% to 59%

Making Sense of the Ransomware Market Research Data

Much of the market research data gathered from information security firms has shown one distinctive pattern: a majority of organizations do not feel confident in their current endpoint protection’s ability to stop a ransomware attack.

Consequently, many enterprises do not realize the threat of ransomware, or they do not believe that the attack would be unable to penetrate their security perimeter. Regardless of the reasons, enterprises that turn a blind eye to ransomware could end up with a black eye when their organization is hit with the infection.

Ransomware awareness should be a weekly or biweekly talking point in your IT staff meetings. With ransomware quickly becoming one of the most talked about cyber attacks in recent history, your enterprise must be forced to take steps to address the likelihood of a ransomware attack.

How to Gauge the Likelihood of a Ransomware Attack

Ransomware attacks are on the rise. The New Jersey Department of Cybersecurity has released a white paper detailing the inner workings of cyber gangs who use ransomware for profit.

The report highlights the sudden rise in ransomware attacks while going into detail about the monetary implications for malicious actors.

New Jersey’s Cybersecurity Team found that ransomware is now being distributed on an affiliate model, where rogue 3rd parties will intentionally encrypt the hard drive of an unsuspecting person in order to earn a commission when the user pays the ransom.

The state task force’s white paper goes on to say that it may not be entirely possible to defend your network from a ransomware attack.

Experts Agree: Implement a Solid Backup Strategy

Experts recommend that your organization should implement a robust backup system that is segregated from the rest of your network. Without a data backup process available, your organization can be impacted by a number of different attacks that fall outside of the scope of ransomware.

PricewaterhouseCoopers says that over 15,000 hard drives fail each day. PwC’s research also found that 94% of businesses went out of business after encountering a catastrophic data loss without a backup solution in place.

IT professionals recommend that you run backup software that uses a local user account versus logging in with a domain user account. This helps reduce your attack surface in case your backup server gets hit with ransomware.

Backup software should encrypt your backups and offer a your organization a way to rapidly retrieve the data off of the backup images. Products such as StorageCraft, Veeam, and others have emerged as leaders in the server backup market.

Security experts recommend that your business should implement employee training and awareness seminars that help end users identify the most common threats.

No matter how much your organization invests in security infrastructure, there really is no substitute for sitting down with your users and providing them with a quick slideshow that demonstrates some of the most common warning signs for malicious websites, hijacked links and infected email attachments.

If you have any worries about the safety of your network, please call us at (833) 482-6435 or click the banner below to schedule an IT security audit so we can find the best security solutions for your business. Preparation for threats like this is a small cost compared to repairing the damage of an actual infection.

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