Ransomware on the Rise

Ransomware has become a fact of life, and no one is outside its purview. As attacks become more costly, organizations should bolster defenses to ensure they don’t become the next victim.

Cyber criminals are expected to attack a business every 11 seconds by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, with damage costs reaching $20 billion (57 times more than in 2015). The costs don’t stop at the ransom payout, either. Aside from the ransom figure, ransomware attacks can entail:

  • Downtime
  • Loss of or damage to important data
  • Productivity loss
  • Damage to reputation
  • Costly post-attack forensic investigations
  • Employee cybersecurity training

The True Cost of Ransomware

In 2019, 966 successful malware attacks cost public sector organizations $7.5 billion; however, with a focus on and investment in people, processes, and IT security, organizations can significantly decrease the number and severity of successful ransomware incidents. The following strategies will help your organization get back in the fight against ransomware:

  • Implement anti-spam/phishing measures, routine update and patching procedures, and rigorous VPN guidelines.
  • Back up important data that is easily accessible and redundant. Make sure to regularly test the integrity of physical backups and how easy the data will be to recover in the event of an incident.
  • Implement data leak prevention tools, the principle of least privilege, strong encryption methods, and regular traffic analysis, monitoring, and logging practices.
  • Invest in users/employees. Security awareness is key in thwarting social engineering attacks. Develop a comprehensive security awareness training program and test users regularly with simulated phishing attacks.
  • Enlist the expertise of a third-party security expert to identify vulnerabilities and gaps in current IT processes, policies, procedures, and operations.

There are many strategies to curb the rise of ransomware, but it all boils down to how much importance organizations place on IT security. Without effective security measures in place, the list of ransomware victims will continue to grow.