In today’s technological world, it’s likely you’ve heard about ransomware attacks. If you’re not up to speed, ransomware is a type of malware that is usually disguised as an innocent email or link, but once activated, encrypts files and makes the system unusable. The malicious actors behind the ransomware then will demand a ransom in exchange for decryption.
Because the digital landscape is always changing, ransomware is evolving simultaneously and keeping track of new threats is proving to be harder. However, knowing that malicious actors will continue to evolve from what we knew about ransomware in the past, we can make educated guesses about what’s coming next. Here are some things to know about ransomware attacks, and what you can do minimize the risk of being a victim.
What to Know About Ransomware Attacks in 2021
Ransomware is on the Rise
As we mentioned above, ransomware evolves as technology advances, which unfortunately has led to a growing number of attacks. There is another theory about why ransomware attacks are on the rise, which is that more victims are actually paying the ransom in order to recover their data (we’ll go over why this is not a good idea below). The best thing organizations can do to avoid falling victim of these attacks is to update their security and take the very necessary steps to protect their data.
Attacks are Becoming More Costly
Not only is the frequency of ransomware on the rise, so is the cost. The security industry has noticed higher ransomware demands in the past year, with ransoms in the millions, as opposed to a few thousand dollars a few years ago. Additionally, the cost associated with removing ransomware is taking a toll on organizations. The disruption in productivity, reputation, and lost access to data leaves companies stranded, which is why they’re more likely to pay to recover what they can.
Data Backups Aren’t Enough
Unfortunately, data backups may not be enough anymore due to the increasing prominence of double extortion from ransomware operators. They have taken to exfiltrating the victim’s data before encryption, demanding the victims pay to not only get their system decrypted but also to prevent them from publishing their data online. This tactic further pressures victims to pay the ransom, so organizations need to look beyond data backups and take security a step further to avoid attacks.
Paying the Ransom is a Bad Idea
From the victim’s perspective, paying the ransom may appear to be the fast and easy route to getting their data back and being done with the problem. However, more often than not it’s never that simple. Paying the ransom does not guarantee your data will be recovered, for a few reasons. Some ransomware actors simply do not have a decryptor to recover the data in the first place. Other times, it comes down the fact that these actors are just simply malicious, publishing the victim’s data even after receiving the ransom.
Being caught in a ransomware case is likely going to poorly end no matter what. Whether the victim pays the ransom or not, the cost associated with recovering data and productivity can take weeks or even months.
With the above in mind, the best way organizations can avoid falling victim to ransomware in the first place is by implementing specific ransomware defense systems into their security plan. Working with a managed IT service and cyber security partner like Lighthouse can give your organization peace of mind knowing you have a strong security plan in place to avoid ransomware occurring in the first place.
Cyber-attacks nearly doubled in the past year, but 93% of breaches could have been avoided by installing and adhering to cyber hygiene best practices. Lighthouse can identify your IT security risks, vulnerabilities and exposures to all manner of cyber threats and attacks. We have the right tools, protocols and professionals in-house to harden – and recover if necessary – your IT systems.
If you have any questions or are concerned that your business is vulnerable to a ransomware attack, contact Lighthouse Technology Partners today for a free consultation.