Recently, the FBI released an alert warning every business sector about an increase in ransomware attacks. In addition, new McAfee report found that ransomware attacks have doubled in 2019. What is ransomware? It is a form of malware that encrypts your files. Hackers use it to demand a ransom in exchange for restored access to your files.
Over the past decade, ransoms have ranged in costs between several hundred dollars to six figures and more. While the FBI advises not to pay the ransom, many organizations are at a loss without access to crucial data. In fact, a ransomware attack is attempted every 14 seconds. This means that your company, like every other business, is or will be at risk.
Hackers are ramping up their attacks
If you think you're safe because you're a small business, or in an industry not attractive to hackers, think again. You've probably read the headlines about major ransomware attacks such as NotPetya, WannaCry, and SamSam which disrupted enterprise industries in a major way and caused losses in the range of millions of dollars. Nonetheless, most attacks still target smaller businesses and home users.
In the near future, cyber attacks will become even more destructive. Cyber criminals are increasing their efficiency by executing more damaging attacks with the objective to demand even higher ransoms.
According to Europol's annual cybercrime report, demands could go beyond the million-dollar range. And, whether it's a government agency or healthcare, there are few organizations who can afford any downtime.
Just look at the 2017 NotPetya attack where enterprise companies had to restore many of their networks from scratch. And, the NotPetya attack was also state-sponsored to cause destruction in Ukraine - but instead, it had huge consequences spreading across companies and industries throughout the world.
What does a ransomware attack look like?
During the first stage, a hacker may infect a network with an Emotet - which is like a Trojan. The hacker will then wait for the infection to spread which could be weeks, months, or years. The further it spreads, the more challenging it becomes to trace. And, the network will eventually become completely vulnerable to an impending ransomware attack.
Unless you have the right cyber security practices in place, it can happen right under your nose. Not to mention, cybercriminals like to go for the low-hanging fruit. Why work harder when they don't have to? If your company appears the least-bit vulnerable, you can expect to be targeted.
Here are other ways to tell if your company is at risk:
- You still use legacy systems
- Your employees are not trained in security awareness
- You don't have an incident response plan
- You don't take preventative cybersecurity measures
Do any of these examples sound like your current state?
Based on findings from the "2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report," your company can save over $1 million if you can contain a ransomware attack in under 30 days.
Five tips to minimize your risk
Take inventory of your current network defenses. This is the time to determine if your network is adequately equipped to manage ransomware threats. Take it a step further by working with a certified managed security services partner who can perform vulnerability management. This is a way to obtain a current overview of any pertinent threats both inside and outside of your network.
Consider deploying a managed firewall. As the first line of defense in your cybersecurity strategy, this may be the most vital aspect of your network infrastructure. Having your network monitored 24/7 is priceless. In addition, any threatening alerts are immediately addressed.
Use managed malware protection. It's time to harden your servers, Windows-based laptops, and devices against ransomware. As a result, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with preventative malware protection.
Safeguard your emails. One of the quickest ways to infect your systems is through phishing attacks. And, phishing emails are quite easy and inexpensive to create. This is why it is so critical to protect your organization from email-based cyber threats.
Protect your endpoints. If all of these measures seem overwhelming, then you could probably use some help. Managed endpoint protection is highly recommended in the wake of the ransomware epidemic. This is different from traditional network security as it covers VPNs, mobile devices, firewall endpoints, and more. Plus, you gain instant access to cybersecurity experts who come with the necessary experience for identifying network vulnerabilities.
The only way to prevent a ransomware attack is to act like it's inevitable. If you're prepared, you can keep an attack from disrupting your business. As you can see, it's high time to change your cybersecurity framework to be more proactive and responsive. There's really nothing left to do other than this: Protect everything. Modern cybersecurity can be complicated. Simplify your IT by partnering with Titan Tech, the MSP to manage it all.