img

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom be paid to decrypt them. It is a growing threat to organizations of all sizes, with the number of ransomware attacks increasing every year. Despite the growing threat of ransomware, many organizations do not have adequate protection against it. This is often because they do not understand the risks and do not know how to protect themselves. In this article, we will provide you with information on how to protect your organization from ransomware. To begin with:

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of cyber threat in which attackers exploit a victim’s data or critical infrastructure and demand monetary ransom. In recent years, ransomware attacks have become more common and increasingly sophisticated exploding into a full-blown underground economy. Cybercriminals are economically motivated to continue ransomware attacks, as many victims, desperate to get their data back, simply pay the ransom. What’s more, the ransomware economy has given rise to more malicious actors offering tools and expertise

How does ransomware work

Ransomware is a malicious software program that prevents or limits users from accessing their systems or data. It does this by encrypting all files on the computer, rendering them inaccessible, and demanding payment to decrypt them.

Criminals have realized how lucrative ransomware is and have created an entire underground economy to sell their expertise as ransomware-as-a-service. Ransomware creators earn money by selling their products in underground markets, which are accessible through the Tor network. The products are typically sold as a service that victims can purchase to recover encrypted files if they do not have any backups.

Ransomware has evolved over time into more sophisticated versions that threaten entire organizations rather than individual users. These threats can include data leaks and breaches of private information, which can lead to financial losses, damage to brand reputation and loss of customer confidence.

The phases of a ransomware attack and Mitigations

When developing a mitigation strategy, consider every stage of ransomware attacks

Stage 1: Initial compromise

A hacker compromises and establishes initial access to the environment. Methods of attack include Phishing, pirated software, brute force and exploitation of vulnerabilities or credential theft.

Mitigations:

Stage 2: Escalation

The attacker expands their foothold by escalating their privileges and moving laterally across the environment. Common methods include exploiting known vulnerabilities, deploying malware, and maintaining persistence.

Mitigations:

Stage 3: Exfiltration

Attackers can exfiltrate target data or restrict access to critical systems in preparation for ransom. Methods include local deployment of malware to endpoints; defense evasion, and encryption of business-critical files.

Mitigations:

  • Ensure regular and thorough data backups
  • Move data to the cloud and take advantage of the greater versioning capabilities it offers
  • Review user permissions to sensitive data
  • Reduce broad read/write permissions for business-critical data
  • Designate protected folders with controlled folder access

Stage 4: Ransom

Attackers typically contact their victims via messaging software and demand payment in cryptocurrency, making it impossible to track or trace the ransom payments.

Mitigations:

  • Maintain a disaster backup and recovery plan and protect backups.
  • Even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee data will be returned or unencrypted. On average, organizations that paid the ransom got back only 65% of their data, with 29% getting no more than half their data.
  • Ensure a holistic clean up and complete removal of persistence— otherwise, the attackers can and often will strike again

Some of the best practices to follow:

Build a security culture: Assume breach and adopt zero trust. Build resiliency with regular training and strong processes that empower people to make the right decisions

Prepare a recovery plan: Remediate damage and remove persistence with solutions that work holistically. Deploy data backup capabilities that let you resume operations as quickly as possible.

Stop ransomware in its tracks: Invest in ransomware prevention with comprehensive solutions that work together and with your environment to block ransomware before it harms your business

How Emtech Can Help you to protect against ransomware:

Emtech can help you find solutions that match your budget and requirements. We analyze your current security measures and suggest ways of improving them. In short, we will make sure you invest in what you need to protect what you want. From email security to on-premises IT security, we’ll give you the tools, resources, and expertise necessary to protect against ransomware and all forms of cyber threats. Get in touch with us today!

REPLY COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 × 1 =