How to Avoid Ransomware Attacks
Starting a new year and decade, many enterprises are finding themselves evaluating their enterprise security. The biggest threat the cyber world faces are the constant emergence of new attacks and implementations of existing, slightly altered variants. With the number of new variants , and a 77% surge in ransomware attacks 2019, it is safe to say ransomware attacks are not going to slow down in this new decade.
The Risk of Ransomware
Ransomware attacks can have devastating effects. Here are some examples.
The most tangible damage is the financial loss. The average estimated business cost of a ransomware attack from beginning to end is over $900,000. To make matters worse, enterprises are often forced to pay hefty fees for forensic consultants and lawyers following the attack.
In addition, in most cases ransomware attacks cause some downtime which affects businesses no matter how big or successful they are. When it comes to enterprises, downtime typically equals huge financial losses, considering that 34% of businesses hit with malware taking over a week to resume operations. Downtime due to ransomware typically also results in a decrease in consumer trust.
This leads us to the next point, which is reputation damage. When a business is associated with ransomware, the damage to its reputation is great and it takes a long time to recover.
If that’s not enough, many ransomware attacks also involve data loss or damage. A key asset to any business, the effect of data loss or damage can be devastating. With the biggest concern for customers post-attack being the protection of their data, these cyberattacks not only hurt the business, but can equally affect customers.
Avoiding Ransomware Attacks
By now, you are probably convinced that you better avoid being hit by a ransomware attack. Here are a few ideas on how to protect your business from the next ransomware attack:
1. Educate your Employees
Train your employees to recognize phishing emails and fake websites containing malicious links. Inform them about the risks and educate them on which emails should raise their suspicion. This won’t make you or your employees 100% immune to ransomware but it can reduce the chances of your employees clicking a malicious file or link that will cost your business millions. Educating employees is one piece of the puzzle in keeping ransomware attacks away from your enterprise.
2. Be Prepared with Backup and Recovery Plans
It’s important backup your organization’s data. That’s a known fact. And yet, we should stress it here again. No matter what size your organization is, or what industry you are coming from, backups can save your business when it comes to ransomware attacks. With the exponential amount of data collected and kept by enterprises, data loss can cause the loss of millions of dollars.
It’s equally as important to perform backups offline, if the backup is done incorrectly, this can lead to additional issues.
Unfortunately, the statistics shows that 73% of businesses are not ready to respond to a cyberattack. It’s true that backups won’t stop ransomware attacks from happening, but they may accelerate the recovery and save your business from additional losses.
3. Add Threat Detection Solutions
Ransomware attacks don’t happen overnight; Attackers first penetrate an organization, and then typically move laterally through the network or lay still while collecting data. In many cases, they will strike only after a while. Threat detection tools that recognize a threat in its early stages after infiltrating an organization, preferably before it reaches the end-point, can change the game by allowing you to take action before it is too late.
What is something to worry about is after the initial infection, it takes minutes to ransom the organization.
4. Deploy an Advanced Email Security Tool
Most enterprises have at least one email security product in place (and sometimes more than one). There is a range of products, solutions and providers with slight differences between them. These tools are effective in blocking most cyberattacks, and usually also some of the ransomware attacks. The real question is “would the email security product that protects my business detect new ransomware attacks at first sight?”. As mentioned before, ransomware attack variants proliferate quickly, it’s often too late to detect after minutes since the attack was missed. This is what makes it more difficult for security solutions to recognize them.
It’s important to carefully test these products before you deploy one and keep challenging them with new attacks and attack methods all the time.
How to Know if You’re at Risk
To ensure your organization is secure, you have to continuously test its security posture. Try BitDam’s online Breach and Attack Simulation for email. Sign up for free and get a sense of your security posture and which of the above would bypass your current security and which would be blocked if emailed to you today.