7 Stages of a Ransomware Attack

A ransomware attack will likely hit your business— but how do they work, and how can you defend against them?

Successful ransomware attacks totaled over of 65,000 in 2020 (or one every eight minutes). This forced thousands of companies to pay for data that rightly belongs to them. For example, Colonial Pipeline paid a $4.4 million ransom to restore operations, despite government advice.

Big paydays and low effort equal the perfect crime for hackers. Because of this, ransomware will continue to evolve and put data and systems at risk. However, one thing that won’t change is the anatomy of a ransomware attack.

Cyber criminals follow these seven steps:

  1. Delivery
  2. Infection
  3. Command and Control Server
  4. Discovery
  5. Lateral Movement and Credential Stealing
  6. Encryption
  7. Ransom

Ransomware is here to stay, but we can defend against it. By understanding the attack process, we can develop defenses to prevent our businesses and employees from becoming victims. The below infographic— and performing a ransomware readiness assessment— can help you do just that.

Anatomy of a Ransomware Attack


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