Navigating an evolving threat: your best defence against ransomware
One of the most pervasive threats to organisations today is that of ransomware. Modern security wisdom states that cyber attacks are no longer a question of if, but when, and falling victim to ransomware attacks can lead to catastrophic results.
The bad news is that it’s not possible to completely eliminate the possibility of falling victim to a ransomware attack. The good news is that you don’t have to start off completely alone.
Here at Perspective Risk, we’ve produced a free digital brochure on navigating the evolving threat of ransomware, packed with practical advice on how to fortify your defences. Let’s take a look at what you can expect, and why ransomware defence should be high on your priority list.
The best defence against ransomware begins with awareness
Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report details that 82% of breaches that their findings covered involved the human element. Yet despite its prevalence and the risks it poses, many people are unclear on what ransomware is. Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) which stops users from accessing data or devices, usually through a complex encryption which infects the user’s system. The threat actor behind the attack will demand payment in return for the data or devices – hence the term ransomware.
Refusal to pay can lead to a threat of increasing the extent of the encryption or even publicising the confidential data that has been encrypted.
Ensuring that you are properly defended against ransomware attacks and have a clear plan in place for combatting their dangers is a critical part of modern organisational security.
How ransomware bypasses your defences
The last few years have seen a significant increase in ransomware being deployed by threat actors.
The factors which make ransomware so dangerous are the very same which make it a lucrative option for attackers. First, being restricted from accessing your own data has an immediate disastrous effect on an organisation, resulting in a greater likelihood of the ransom being paid. Second, traditionally there has been little consequences from serious law enforcement against those who utilise ransomware for illegal activity.
Although the net may be starting to close in on criminals, Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2023 warns that this uptick in cyber policing will cause threat actors to consider diversifying, focusing on pure extortion or data monetisation. The need for constant vigilance has never been greater.
The pandemic also provided great opportunity for cyber criminals, with IT departments stretched beyond their capacity to keep their organisations functioning.
Any number of weaknesses can allow a ransomware attack to slip through your security. The touchpoints, processes and policies in your workplace can all be exploited in different ways to allow threat actors to gain access to your systems.
As we highlight in our digital brochure, there are touchpoints common to most organisations that can fall victim to and be impacted by ransomware, from end users to IT teams, from the data centre to the boardroom. Knowing how each part of your organisation can be manipulated by threat actors to gain a foothold in your organisation means you are better placed to take the necessary steps to boost your defences.
Best practices for your defence against ransomware
The transformation to cyber maturity is a crucial goal for organisations today, with Deloitte’s 2023 reporting that 87% of highly cyber-mature organisations have a cyber security incident response plan in place and 91% have an operational and strategic plan to defend against cyber threats.
At Perspective Risk, we recommend following the guidance from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in America.
These two organisations suggest a phased approach, building a defence-in-depth strategy to ensure you take the required steps to minimise the breadth and depth of a ransomware attack.
While the NCSC provides guidance in the form of a four-step approach, there are five functions laid out in NIST’s Cyber Security Framework which organisations should follow to mitigate the likelihood of a successful breach – Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.
Understanding how these two frameworks offer you superior protection will go a long way to ensuring you are prepared if an attack ever comes.
Protected or unprotected: how to respond to a ransomware attack
The impact a ransomware attack has on your organisation can vary depending on your level of preparedness. By following the NSCS and NIST frameworks when creating your strategy, you will have good practices in place .
The differences in how you respond to a ransomware attack are decided long before the first sign of encryption appears on your networks. Those decisions are made months, possibly even years, earlier based on your approach to cyber defence.
There is a catalogue of errors that organisations can fall victim to, from clicking links in phishing emails due to lack of training, to losing total control of your networks and data because of improper defences.
However, with a long-term strategy in place and a framework which encompasses your entire organisation, these mistakes can be eradicated and catastrophe can be avoided.
But what if the worst should happen and your data is compromised – is it advisable to pay the hackers to regain control? Does it work? Will offering money to a criminal organisation implicate you in their crimes?
Falling prey to a ransomware attack can be terrifying, not just for businesses with weak defences but even for those with proper cyber security measures in place. The difference is whether your preparation leaves you one step ahead of those who wish you harm.
Long-term and expert defence against ransomware
In our age of hybrid working, organisations must cope with the threat of constant danger, managing the trade-off between technology access requirements, often across huge geographies and diverse environments, and keeping those with sinister intent at bay.
As more and more companies transform from on-premises to cloud-based setups, ransomware actors will follow suit. The Trend Micro Security report suggests that, with close to $6 billion expected to be spent on public cloud services in the coming year, cyber criminals will follow the money to ensure their operations remain lucrative.
Although cloud platforms have so far been spared much of ransomware actors’ attention, this in turn makes them fruitful targets for those who switch their focus to the ransomware defences of the cloud. Your protection needs to match their criminal intent and its not a challenge that can be left to your IT teams alone.
A managed services provider offers you the peace of mind and assurance that your security is in expert hands. Perspective Risk’s services ensures that your organisation is protected and defended 24/7. Hackers don’t rest and neither do we.
It means you can focus on your top priorities without worrying about the resources and skill needed to manage constant danger.
Perspective Risk is part of the Content+Cloud group, placing us in elite company as one of just four UK organisations to have attained attained Solutions Partner for Microsoft Cloud designation. With numerous cyber security accreditations , our world-class information security consultants are in high demand.
For peace of mind, you want to work with a partner who has your security as their number one priority. At Perspective Risk, our people are obsessed with cyber security, meaning you couldn’t be in better hands.
Our Navigate the evolving threat of ransomware digital brochure offers you a step-by-step guide on how to build up your defences and create a long-term strategy to keep your people safe. It breaks down NCSC and NIST security frameworks to give you the building blocks of your protection, and shows you exactly how you want to be positioned if you do fall victim to a ransomware attack.
Criminals continue to threaten organisations across all industries, with evolving tactics that require robust defence against ransomware. To discover how you can build a strategy to mitigate the impact of attacks on your organisation, download our digital brochure today.