What is a Ransomware Attack?
A ransomware attack uses malicious software to encrypt your data or lock your computer. It then demands money for the owners to gain access. Often, the only way out once infected is paying the ransom.
Who is Targeted?
You are at risk if you access the web through your computer or mobile device. Despite being initially targeted at individuals, businesses are becoming the favored target. Ransomware has evolved rapidly and developed into a more sophisticated threat against large organizations able to give in to demands for increasingly large amounts of money.
At What Frequency Does It Occur?
Standard ransomware kits are readily available, and over 4,000 attacks occur around the world daily. In 2017 businesses fell victim to ransomware attacks every 40 seconds. Unfortunately, this figure has shrunk to the 11 seconds mark in 2021.
How Much Does It Cost?
Ransomware attacks are rampant nowadays due to its lucrative nature, and high accessibility to anybody who wants to commit a cybercrime – no hacking skills required. It is easier to pay than to fight the threat – or risk permanent data loss.
Reports have shown a rising cost associated with recovering from a ransomware attack: the average total cost has doubled in the last year. In 2020, it was $761,106, and in 2021, it was $1.85 million. Ransoms paid are an average of $170,404.
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Ransomware Protection Strategies
Use a profile with restricted rights – Having a secondary user profile you can use for your day-to-day needs may be an excellent idea, even if you are the only user of your computer. This preventative measure helps to limit the damage of any potential Trojan horse attempt to gain control of your machine and be used to execute commands automatically in the background.
Remove a viral infection – In the event of confirmed viral infection, it is necessary to limit the potential damage by immediately disconnecting from the network without forgetting to cut off access to Wi-Fi. You must then identify precisely the malicious program of which you are the victim.
Train the employees – Working in closed silos often leads to failure situations. You must ensure that all employees know the issues and understand the actions to be taken upstream and during a ransomware attack. Education is vital to prevent ransomware from entering your system.
Know the signs – In ransomware attacks, files, folders, or applications are locked down until the hackers receive a crypto payment. It is essential to identify attacks early so that you can start the recovery process as quickly as possible.
Attacks often take the identity of law enforcement authority, accusing the computer’s owner of criminal activity and demanding payment of fines within a period.
Use anti-virus and firewalls – The market is full of powerful anti-virus software often associated with a paid subscription. These programs offer a substantive level of protection, including a regular scan of your entire system or an automatic check-up of all the files that you may need to download.
Track network permissions – Ensure that your shared network drives are monitored regularly to confirm that all permissions align with security needs.
Harden OS – You can harden the operating system by setting up Group Policy Objects (GPOs) that make it hard to directly access registry keys that ransomware uses (HKCUSOFTWARECryptoLocker, for example).
Report incidences fast – Make an initial report as soon as you are informed of a breach and update the report when additional information becomes available. Under GDPR, severe breaches of data must be communicated to the Controller within 72 hours.
Ransomware is a threat to all businesses. It is essential to realize this and strengthen company policies accordingly by adopting a comprehensive data protection strategy.