One of the most dangerous cybersecurity threats is ransomware. Ransomware is malware that locks down data by encrypting it and basically holding it hostage until a ransom is paid. Ransomware has been around for a while but the strategies in which criminals use them have progressed and experts believe they are getting worse. Ransomware gangs have sprung up all over the world within the last couple of years. Their demands have become more egregious and they are moving to not only target the financial sector, but also manufacturing and government entities. The theory is these ransomware gangs are seeking victims who cannot afford to have significant down time, thus making the likelihood for them to pay up very high. They have also changed tactics by stealing the sensitive data before they encrypt it.
If the victim does not pay, the cybercriminal will use the data as a bargaining chip and threaten to release the information if their demands are not met. This essentially is extortion. But victims not only have to worry about the sensitive data released, they also have to worry about the implications of possibly breaking privacy laws, being out of compliance with regulators and now possibly being sanctioned by the United States Department of Treasury if they give in and pay the ransom.
Ransomware is something that everyone should take extremely seriously and ensure that all measures are taken to prevent such an attack. Phishing and ransomware usually work hand in hand, such that a failure to prevent a phishing attempt is typically the gateway to a successful ransomware attack.
Organizations must protect themselves by:
- Looking for signs of suspicious emails and training all employees on how to recognize such emails.
- Making sure your antivirus software is up to date and running.
- Never clicking on links that are unverified.
- Having a plan for how to respond to a ransomware attack, and testing it, and then testing it again!
- Knowing and understanding what’s connected to your network.
- Making sure software patches are always up to date.
- Creating an effective backup strategy.
- Making sure all data is backed up daily.
- Never downloading media files or software from unknown websites.
AaSys understands the risk organizations face on daily basis. As a leader within the network security industry AaSys utilizes a layered approach to securing networks and system hardening. By using the most stringent cybersecurity frameworks, AaSys can help protect your organization without sacrificing functionality and performance. To learn more, contact your AaSys Account Executive today.