Let’s get the bad news out of the way: Ransomware attacks are getting worse in 2021.
In fact, President Biden’s administration recently announced that it is focusing on ways to counteract the growing trends of cyberattacks on businesses after ransomware attacks recently affected JBC, a large meat producer in Brazil, and Colonial Pipeline, one of the country’s largest fuel sources for the East Coast.
The good news is that you can take proactive steps to protect your business from falling prey to cybercriminals and ransomware threats.
Here, we’ll analyze the current state of ransomware trends and how you can strengthen your business’ cybersecurity strategy. If you’re still concerned that your business may be vulnerable to extortion attempts by ransomware groups, please reach out to the cybersecurity professionals at Verdant TCS. We’d be more than happy to help.
WHY IS RANSOMWARE STILL A THREAT?
As a reminder, ransomware is a type of malware that uses encryption software to lock down your business’ network. Cybercriminals then threaten to publish your sensitive data or block access to your business’ databases and file services unless you make some sort of ransom payment.
According to one report, mid-sized businesses paid an average ransom of $170,000 per ransomware attack last year. Compounding the problem in the same report found that only 8% of businesses got all of their encrypted data and files back after paying the ransom demand.
Unfortunately, since many businesses don’t have another way to restore their data quickly and effectively, they end up paying thousands (or even millions) of dollars. Those ransomware payment totals are attracting more threat actors, and businesses are paying the price in ways that affect more than just their wallets.
Ransomware attacks have the potential to adversely impact your business beyond the financials:
- Temporary or permanent loss of vital data
- Potential downtime that reduces productivity
- Damaged business reputation
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A PROACTIVE APPROACH CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS BATTLE RANSOMWARE ATTACKS
So, what can you do to protect your business from ransomware threats? As we mentioned in a previous blog, one of the best steps you can take to protect sensitive data is to adopt the “zero trust” model of IT security. The zero trust model takes the approach that all access is denied by default and email and login attempts are constantly scrutinized. Even one-time validation codes are rejected in this model since networks and computers can be compromised by phishing and ransomware threats at any moment.
You can also use a multilayered approach to cybersecurity that includes:
- Multi-factor authentication
- Multiple data backups available both onsite and offsite
- Whitelisting/blacklisting geographical areas within the cloud
- Implementing secure VPNs for remote access
Here are some additional steps that small businesses can use to improve your threat intelligence and mitigate potential ransomware attacks:
- Stay current: Not only is it important to keep your systems and technology running on the latest versions of operating software, strive to stay abreast of recent ransomware trends to help identify new developments that your business may face.
- Train your employees: The better your employees are prepared to identify potentially malicious emails, links, and attachments, the better your business will be able to withstand cybersecurity attacks from different ransomware variants. This became even more important when the COVID-19 pandemic created an influx of remote workers.
- Turn to the cloud: Cloud computing offers a wide array of reliable and effective tools that can help you protect your sensitive data against cybersecurity attacks and data breaches. Cloud storage also provides a way to back up and restore previous versions of your stolen data if you are a victim of a ransomware attack.
- Make an incident response plan: In the unfortunate scenario where your business is impacted by a ransomware infection, determine exactly how you are going to react to contain it, recover, and attempt to minimize the negative effects.
- Identify your risk: Use a real time vulnerability scanning and penetration testing tool that looks at your true risks and all of your solutions across the cloud and on-premise. Contact us to learn about our new vAlmond security ratings tool and how it can help you.
As ransomware incidents become more prevalent, businesses should revisit their cybersecurity strategies that account for cyber threats, software vulnerabilities, and data recovery options. From there, you should determine the appropriate IT budget and resources.
If the threat landscape feels too overwhelming or complicated for your business, you may want to reach out to an experienced IT company like Verdant TCS, who can help your business identify potential gaps and upgrades in your information security.
VERDANT TCS CAN HELP STRENGTHEN YOUR SECURITY EFFORTS
We founded Verdant TCS to help you plan, implement, monitor, and support the right proactive multi-layered cybersecurity strategy for your business. Our experienced team of cybersecurity and professional services specialists can work with you to find an efficient and intelligent IT solution that can reduce your costs and help your business adapt to current and future ransomware trends.
For information on how Verdant TCS can help prevent cybercrime and security breaches from affecting your business, please call 616-210-1760 or fill out this short form.
- Barnes, J.E. (2021, June 4.) “F.B.I. Director Compares Danger of Ransomware to 9/11 Terror Threat.” The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/04/us/politics/ransomware-cyberattacks-sept-11-fbi.html
- Adam, Sally (2021, April 27.) “The State of Ransomware 2021.” Sophos News. Retrieved from: https://news.sophos.com/en-us/2021/04/27/the-state-of-ransomware-2021/