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Ransomware in 2021:

What Ransomware is and How to Protect Your Organization

Data breaches, cyber-attacks, and ransomware attacks infiltrate and shut down hundreds of businesses every year. Ransomware is the growing issue.

Mile2 Cyber Security Certification

The Darkside of Doing Digital Business

The digital world is highly complex. Hundreds if not thousands of systems work together to allow people, businesses, and corporations access to everything the virtual world has to offer. It much more common than not that businesses operate solely online. It is fantastic that technology has reached this point, but there is a dark side to this digital world. Data breaches, cyber-attacks, and ransomware attacks infiltrate and shut down hundreds of businesses every year. Ransomware is the growing issue. According to an annual report on global cybersecurity, there were 304 million ransomware attacks in 2020 alone and this number is continuing to rise. On average, over 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since 2016. These are shocking numbers and Ransomware hackers are continuing to grow in their crafts. So, what is ransomware? How can it impact business and corporations, and what can you do to protect your business from these attacks?

On average, over 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since 2016.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware that block individuals from being able to access their own data. The attacker then offers instructions for how the individual can pay to receive access to their data again. These costs can range anywhere from one hundred to thousands of dollars. There are a number of actions ransomware can take to access a computer. The most common is phishing, which is false spam that comes to the victim through email, disguising as a file they can trust. Once these files are downloaded and opened, they can take control of the victim’s computer. There are several things a malware can do once they’ve taken over, but the most common is to encrypt the victim’s files and demand a payment.

How does ransomware affect business?

Ransomware is a form of malware that block individuals from being able to access their own data. The attacker then offers instructions for how the individual can pay to receive access to their data again. These costs can range anywhere from one hundred to thousands of dollars. There are a number of actions ransomware can take to access a computer. The most common is phishing, which is false spam that comes to the victim through email, disguising as a file they can trust. Once these files are downloaded and opened, they can take control of the victim’s computer. There are several things a hacker can do once the malware has taken over, but the most common is to encrypt the victim’s files and demand a payment.

Ransomware is a form of malware that block individuals from being able to access their own data. 

How does if affect business?

Organizations face a variety of cyberattacks. A variety of malware programs attack individuals, but businesses and corporations are the most likely to become victims of ransomware. Ransomware attacks prevent the company from having any access to their files until the ransom is paid. Ransomware can attack any type of organization. Some of these include: small businesses, educational facilities, healthcare providers, government agencies and non-profit agencies. The average ransom payment is over $100,000, most of these organizations do not have the money to pay the attacker instantly which means they cannot access their files. This is a growing problem especially for organizations like healthcare providers and education facilities that need access to their files quickly. Here are some companies that were affected by ransomware attacks.

Attacks Spiraling in India

According to an article by ciso.economics.indiantimes.com, the recovery cost from the impacts of the attack rippled in the last year in India. The costs are up to $1.1 million in 2020 and $3.38 million in 2021. The issue is that paying the ransom often does not result in the organizations receiving their data back. On average, 75% of their data was lost and only 4% receive all their data back. Some other findings show that 67% of Indian organizations paid the ransom to get back their data, but they were unsuccessful. It is harder and more expensive for businesses to recover from ransomware attacks because it can leave their budgets severely affected. Such attacks can decimate a company.

Colonial Pipeline Attack

On May 6, 2021, malicious attackers hacked into one of the top pipelines in the U.S. They stole data, locked computers and demanded a ransom be paid. A statement released on a Friday night claimed they has shut down 5,500 miles of pipeline in an effort to contain the breach. The company was left with one option, pay the ransom. These are just two of millions of organizations who are affected by ransom ware every day. The question then becomes, how can it be prevented?

Preventing Ransomware Attacks

There’s an old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  This couldn’t be more true when it comes to ransomware prevention.  

There are three ways ransomware attacks can be prevented. These are penetration testing, building a secure network, and developing a cybersecurity awareness culture. Countless cyberattacks occur every day, but if we can teach organizations how to be aware of these attacks and know when they occur, they can be prevented.

There’s an old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  This couldn’t be more true when it comes to ransomware prevention. 

1. Penetration Testing

Many successful cyber-attacks could have been mitigated or prevented all together with proper testing, but very few organizations commit to these regular tests. Penetration testing is a controlled form of hacking. A professional tester, who works on behalf of the organization, uses the same techniques as a criminal hacker to find vulnerabilities in the organization’s systems. Penetration testing is done by cyber professionals who are trained to find any vulnerabilities in a company’s  network. If these vulnerabilities are found before an attack occurs, they can be acted on. Penetration testing is all about catching problems before they occur and it is essential to preventing ransomware attacks.

2.Building a secure network

When it comes to building a secure network and preventing cyber-attacks, it is important to do these things. One, educate your employees. Ensure that your employees are educated on how to use software as well as how to identify and treat suspicious emails. Education is the first step to prevention. Two, use a multilayered approach to network security. Adopting a layered approach to security can help ensure that there is not one single point of failure in your network. A point of single failure is easy for a hacker to penetrate. 

3. Back up your files regularly. 

Backing of files to many different locations can help mitigate ransomware attacks. If backed up correctly, you would still have access to your files even if they were encrypted. Four, path your systems regularly. Updating systems can make sure you do not have security flaws in your applications. Five, analyze and treat suspicious files and or emails with care. This will help ensure that the false emails are disposed of appropriately and action is taken on them.

The best action we can take is developing a Cybersecurity Awareness Culture. These attacks are everywhere, and it is important that our individuals, businesses, organizations, and corporations are educated on how to prevent them and how to deal with them If they do occur. If we develop this education now, we can prevent future attacks from occurring at all.

If you are looking for a guide to corporate penetration testing and creating a cybersecurity culture, look no further than Mile2.com This big, little company is making waves in cybersecurity on an international scale and has developed custom programs for military, police, and government forces to fight cybercrime.  A little prevention today could save you thousands tomorrow.

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