Ransomware attacks are becoming a common issue that organizations and individuals alike have to cope with. So what do you do to stop ransomware attackers in their tracks? It all boils down to prevention and detection.
Who, What, and Why; the three questions about Ransomware that you need to know.
Ransomware attacks are a real threat to both large corporations and individuals alike. The idea of your personal data, files, or software being infiltrated, infected, and withheld by ransomware attackers is enough to turn the staunchest stomach. It’s a ‘worst-case scenario’ that is sadly becoming increasingly common as more organizations rely on digital resources. In light of the increasing number of attacks, what can you do to stop ransomware attackers before they cripple your secured system? The key is understanding how ransomware works, taking preventative steps to mitigate attacks, and having fast detection systems to stop the spread of corrupt files.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a computer file virus that is designed to penetrate your secured files, restrict your access to those files, and then infect other connected files and systems. Their goal is to infect as many files as they can as quickly as possible. The more files they can cut off from your organization or company, the more money they can extort from you. The end goal of ransomware attackers is to steal as many of your files as possible and then ransom them back to you for as large a sum as possible.
Who is Attacking you?
Ransomware attackers are typically highly organized, skilled, and secured groups with malintent. They want to hurt other organizations and companies for profit. The boldness and prevalence of ransomware attackers have pushed cyberattacks to the forefront of the list of global attack risks facing modern businesses. However, there isn’t a lot known about the identities or locations of major ransomware attackers. This is no surprise, considering the people behind ransomware attacks would have to face justice on a global scale.
Why are Ransomware Attackers so effective?
Ransomware is so effective because the infected file is designed to replicate itself in the files connected to it very quickly. Infecting hundreds of thousands of files can happen in an hour, and stealing a company’s entire system can happen overnight. Currently, there is no effective way to recoup the files without paying the ransom.
Stopping Ransomware Attackers; Prevention and Detection
Stopping ransomware attackers during an active attack is extremely difficult. There is no effective way to stop the attack once it’s started without a groundwork of prevention and detection already in place. There is currently no way to recover files stolen by ransomware attackers without cooperating with the cyberterrorist and paying the set price. Limiting access to sensitive data has never been more important than with a strong cyber security posture and a proactive attack surface management team.
When it comes to all cyber attacks, the age-old idiom “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings true. Encrypting files should be a standard practice, but files containing sensitive or proprietary information should be the most heavily encrypted.
Education Is Key
One of the best ways to stop ransomware is to teach your employees and anyone else who has access to your system. Endpoint users often download ransomware viruses from emails or applications because they don’t recognize a potential threat. Company- and industry-wide education in cyber security best practices creates the best outcome possible.
An educated workforce and customer base are two of an organization’s most effective protective measures to prevent ransomware. Each person with access to your system is a potential attack vector, but they can also be another way to gate keep your digital assets when properly trained.
You might also be interested in “How To Prevent Ransomware Attacks”
Always Backup Data
Possibly the best way to mitigate the damage from a ransomware attack is by having all of your data backed up on a completely separate and secured system. If your entire system is backed up, you can easily replace any corrupted files without any fuss. Thorough and secured backups render ransomware attackers ineffective.
Quick detection is another surefire way to stop ransomware attackers in their tracks. Attack surface management teams keep an eye on systems for suspicious emails, interactions, endpoint users, and codes using a number of ways to find them.
Deep Learning; The Next Step In AI and ML
The best approach to detection is adopting a “zero-trust” policy. A zero-trust policy means that all outgoing and incoming interactions are considered suspicious and should be thoroughly vetted. End users that are deemed safe are then given a cleared flag or code that allows them easier access to the system. Several security systems allow for this vetting process to be extremely quick.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have been applied to cybersecurity systems to create zero-trust firewalls, filters, and other cybersecurity systems. These allow interactions to be vetted so quickly that endpoint users often don’t even know they have been assessed. The latest AI and ML technology that has been applied to cybersecurity is called Deep Learning. This technology combines AI and ML to create a vetting system that learns as it finds suspicious activity to get faster and better at stopping ransomware attackers.
Total Quarantine and Cutting Your Losses
Unfortunately, as quickly as cybersecurity teams can create new ways to combat ransomware, cyber threat actors adapt by creating new ransomware variants. Should ransomware attackers penetrate your attack surface and cause a ransomware infection, there is only one action to take: the infected files must be completely and quickly quarantined. AI and ML systems have also been designed to do this in seconds after detecting a breach.
This is why it is critical to back up all files. Once the infected files have been quarantined and removed from your system, you can put backup files back on your system without doing much damage or slowing down your normal work. The ransomware attackers can’t do anything with this protocol, so you don’t have to fix your system quickly.
It is never recommended that you pay the ransomware attackers the requested payment for your files. This practice just enables the cyber threat actors to continue to terrorize you and other organizations as well. The more times ransomware attackers are successful in blackmailing money from a business, the bolder they become.
Protect your assets from the attacker’s perspective
The only way to completely eliminate ransomware attacks altogether is by removing the effectiveness of the attack. By thoroughly protecting your systems through preventative mitigation methods and fast-acting attack surface management, you can quickly stop ransomware attackers. Are you worried that your organization is at risk for ransomware attacks? Click HERE to learn how Randori can help you.