Ransomware: a growing security threat

Organizations of all sizes can be targets.

Protect your organization against ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that, when it infects computers, restricts user access to files, and often threatens the permanent deletion of data, unless a crypto-currency (e.g. Bitcoin) ransom is paid. The threat of ransomware is expected to increase with the rise of crypto-currencies. Digital currencies allow cybercriminals to operate without the fear of retribution since payments are not easily tracked by law enforcement agencies. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has seen a large increase in malware:

over $24 million was paid to attackers in 2015. In Q1 of 2016 alone, ransomware costs rose to $209 million, and is projected to reach $1 billion by year’s end.

IC3, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center

Cyber-attacks are neither industry nor sector specific

Organizations need to define how they detect, protect and respond to ransomware attacks. As is the case with other types of malicious attacks, multiple layers of security is a recommended approach to protect an organization from a wide variety of risks:

  • Identify risk — Carry out a risk assessment
  • Define security and privacy policies — Reflect the objectives set by management
  • Customize education, training and awareness programs — Identify and adapt training for all user profiles
  • Keep information systems current and up to date — Audit information systems and define update procedures
  • Develop business continuity and disaster recovery plans — Backups, incident management, contingency planning
  • Install preventive controls — Firewalls, endpoint security
  • Maintain comprehensive logs and audit trails — Log all suspicious activity
  • Evaluate cyber liability insurance — Protection against losses due to fraud

Ransomware attacks should be reported to the proper authorities. In most cases, authorities will strongly suggest not paying a ransom in response to an attack. There is, after all, no guarantee that paying a ransom will result in the recovery of the data in question. It goes without saying, preventing a malware attack will always be preferable to the alternative of having to deal with the consequences of having your data held hostage by cybercriminals.

To hear how we can help you minimize risk, get in touch. Contact us