Ransomware Threats: What SMBs Need to Know

Ransomware Threats: What SMBs Need to Know

Imagine this: You've worked endlessly over the past month to make a video collage of your parents' treasured memories together for their golden anniversary. You've included the correct pictures, overlaid it with music to make nostalgic recollections of their favorite songs and imparted flawlessness. Your video tribute will be a final fabulous addition to their special day. 

At the exact moment when you decide to pat yourself on the back and work on the finishing touches, you decide to save the video when an unexpected message pops up: "The files on this PC have been locked. Send bitcoin within 48 hours or your video will be deleted!" That ideal moment just crashed and burned as you've become the latest victim hit with ransomware. 

And, it's not just individuals. Ransomware attacks can upset business activities, making organizations experience hours or even days of downtime with the potential to permanently shut down an organization's operations. 

Ransomware attacks are rapidly ascending. These assaults can weaken any organization quickly, adversely influencing the association's profitability, budgetary implications, and brand. Underneath, we talk about what the noxious threat actors are focusing on, patterns in ransomware attacks and the expense of remediation. Then, we will offer a few tested suggestions for helping to build your fortress against the next data breach.

Just in 2019, an excess of 70 state and local governments were unexpectedly hit with ransomware. Further, many government entities are ill-prepared against these types of cyber threats. In addition to the fact that they have the potential to pay, however they are a vulnerable target. Local governments have also been more likely to pay the ransomware as opposed to attempting to rebuild and re-fortify their networks. 

In the wake of seeing Atlanta spend $2.6 million to reestablish its networks as opposed to paying the $52,000  in ransomware demands, numerous authorities have concluded that it's less expensive to pay the hackers. To fight off the expanding danger of ransomware assaults, government authorities are turning to MSPs for cost-effective help. 

Yet, if government institutions continue to pay the ransom, specialists caution that ransomware will continue to expand in 2020. In addition, there will be more threat actors drawn to ransomware if it proves a fruitful venture.

The Scene: Experiencing the unimaginable 

Picture a day where you stroll into your office one morning only to notice that every one of the PCs have been bolted, with a compromising message posted on every worker's screen requesting a payoff. Your organization's information is bolted, and the backup files have been decimated. 

As you scramble to react to this unnerving situation, valuable time slips by and your business can't function. Your organization is at the mercy of time, profits, and client interactions, in addition to other things. You are now the helpless victim of a cyber criminal. Think this will never happen to your organization? Think again.

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Everyone is a potential victim

A typical misperception is that threat actors, utilizing ransomware, target bigger organizations and organizations. Actually, cyber criminals, utilizing robotized programming with varying capabilities, will target any organization with the potential to pay. For instance, in the course of the most recent year, state governments, healthcare organizations, and law offices have all been casualties of pulverizing ransomware attacks. 

In fact, Norsk Hydro, a Norwegian aluminum maker, succumbed to a ransomware attack and lost around $52 million. Regardless of the size of your business or industry, your organization is probably in danger of a ransomware attack. 

Inconvenient truths

Many experts note that ransomware has dramatically increased within the past year.

Some upsetting insights include: 

  • In 2019, a new ransomware attack is made every 14 seconds.
  • 1.5 million new phishing attacks are made each month.
  • The average ransomware demand has significantly increased  from $12,762 to S$36,295. 
  • Downtime costs often end up costing over five times the amount of the ransomware payment.

With the expansion in ransomware attacks, organizations have attempted to increase their digital protections. But for many companies, this may not be enough unless you partner with an MSP who offers expert-level cyber security protocols. 

It's low-risk and comes with a high payoff

Another disturbing pattern inside the ransomware universe is the increasing partnerships between threat actors. For instance, one individual may have the skill to penetrate a network. They will then sell that access to another threat actor on the dark web. Moreover, since many of these cyber criminals request payment in bitcoin, it makes it increasingly difficult to track their money and/or location. These types of sophisticated partnerships make it all the more challenging to deter. Plus, once they're inside your organization's network, they often destroy your ability to recover without first paying the ransom. 

So how might you help to stall a ransomware attack? Avoidance requires more than pure luck, and it's hardly simple. What's important is to achieve identification, preparation, and the proper reaction.  

Create a security-aware company culture 

Ransomware can spread widely beginning with a simple human error. For instance, this could occur with an employee opening a link sent via social media. Teaching your staff or clients to distinguish suspicious messages, can help to fundamentally decrease the likelihood of ransomware attacks. 

Make sure you have a backup and recovery system in place

Steady protection against ransomware means having reinforcements — and a certified MSP partner who can offer backup and recovery services. If you back up your data, you can ensure quicker remediation since only hours of data may be lost in contrast to losing months or years' worth of data. 

Despite your proactive measures, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to preventing malware 100%. You need to partner with an MSP and take the multi-layered, contemporary approach which addresses the most recent iterations of ransomware. Remember, threat actors will continue to evolve -- as will their attacks -- so then, your organization needs to evolve in preventative measures as well. As a result, with your MSP's help, you can always stay on top of identification, response, and recuperation to ensure business as usual. If you're ready to learn more about how you can mitigate the ongoing ransomware threat, contact Titan Tech today.