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The ransomware epidemic isn’t going anywhere

Here’s what you and your customers can do to protect against it

September 01, 2021

The ransomware epidemic isn’t going anywhere
Imagine someone swoops by your or your customers’ business in an unmarked van and tosses all the operating systems in the back. They peel away into the night and leave behind a ransom note that says “send us bitcoin or we’ll destroy all your data.” It’s a business kidnapping and it happens to companies all the time in a virtual sense—as frequently as every 11 seconds, according to a report from Cybersecurity Ventures. In another recent study by Sophos, 51% of all surveyed businesses had been hit by ransomware in 2020, so it’s far from an idle threat.
 
In simple terms, ransomware is a malware that infects networks, restricts access to data and threatens to destroy said data unless a ransom is paid, leaving businesses with a dire choice: pay the ransom or risk losing their data.
  
A crypto-criminal boom that’s costing billions
Cybersecurity Ventures reports the cost of damages from ransomware is expected to reach $20 billion by 2021—up 57X since 2015. Fifty. Seven. With that kind of explosive growth, ransomware has become an epidemic whose cost will spiral into the trillions in the years to come. You can thank cryptocurrency for unleashing the floodgates with its easy and difficult-to-trace digital payment system.
 
And you don’t have to be one of the largest fuel operators in the nation like Colonial Pipeline to be a victim of ransomware. According to a Symantec study, 43% of cyberattacks were aimed at small to midsize businesses, many of which don’t have the cybersecurity awareness to defend themselves, making them vulnerable targets for a virtual mugging.
  
On a mission to seek and deploy
Due to the shift to remote workforces, it’s no surprise email phishing attacks are the primary method hackers use to deploy ransomware into an environment, a cybercriminal technique we’ve discussed more in-depth on the blog here. Once the hackers gain access through a successful phishing attack on an unsuspecting employee or customer, the ransomware then worms its way into the entire infrastructure until the hackers decide to encrypt the system and hold it hostage for a hefty price.
 
Put an end to ransomware with end-to-end protection
To keep your company or your customers from becoming a casualty in the ransomware wars, there’s several security solutions you can implement across four key areas to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access in the first place, as well as stopping an attack should it happen. So what can you do?
 
Patch your human vulnerabilities
Since email phishing attacks targeting employees are the main entry point for deploying ransomware into an environment, email security awareness solutions are critical in making sure your customers or employees can quickly detect phishing attacks through interactive training and practice. As previously mentioned, when it comes to cybercrime, human vulnerabilities are as easily exploited as technical ones and just as important to fix.
 
More layers, less problems
Use multifactor authentication solutions to verify someone’s identity. It’s an additional layer of security that makes it harder for hackers to impersonate someone. Through text messages, authenticator apps or biometric methods, the user must grant access in order to log in or connect to a network. Multifactor technology has advanced to become seamless and hardly an inconvenience for customers while keeping businesses secure.

Defend your endpoints
Maintain an up-to-date endpoint security solution, like antivirus software, because older solutions aren’t equipped to deal with ransomware. Many companies are using outdated endpoint security solutions that haven’t kept pace with the recent rise of ransomware. Visit securitylinecard.com to see which vendor best fits your protection needs.
 
Stay cool under ransomware pressure with cold backups
Use backups regularly and test them to make sure they work. A non-functioning backup you haven’t tested in a long time is as good as no backup, so you don’t want to wait until you need your backup during a ransomware attack to see if it works. One of your backups should be a “cold” backup not connected to a network so it can’t be accessed or encrypted by an attack. That way you can quickly and easily recover those systems that have been taken down.
 
Pay for protection, not a ransom
Trust Ingram Micro’s partnership, value-added services and expertise to make sure your business is protected from end to end with the latest ransomware protection and security solutions. Because investing in effective ransomware protection is cheaper and smarter than paying a ransom.
 

 

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