Why is Ransomware still a threat for enterprises in the modern world?

karthick Jun 3, 2022 | 146 Views
  • Information Technology

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Police departments, health professionals, academic institutions, the oil and gas industry, and even governments are not immune to the ransomware onslaught. When enterprises are affected, it might put their business’s existence at risk. “Officer, how did the hacker escape?” “I’m not sure, he just ransomware. Because the threat is so widespread and the consequences are so severe, the international department of justice has prioritized all ransomware investigations. According to a study, ransomware affected 66% of organizations questioned in 2021, up from 37% in 2020. 


The rise of digital connections, complicated IT infrastructure, and effective supply chain networks have all greatly increased the attack surface of an enterprise. As a result, professional hackers are more likely than ever to use ransomware payloads to enter an internal corporate network. According to a study, nation-state bad actors’ cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure have increased significantly, with ransomware activity in India increasing by 70% in the Q4 of 2021. Ransomware is becoming more widespread and dangerous. It’s past time to pay attention.


What is Ransomware?

Malicious software vulnerabilities known as “ransomware” prohibit users from accessing a system, device, or file until a ransom is paid. It’s an illegal money-making scheme spread by false links sent through email, instant chat, or on a website. A ransom note that shows on the victim’s screen after their files have been locked or encrypted usually includes the ransom amount and contact information for the cyber threat actor (CTA). 

The CTA may simply provide contact information in the note, and if they are contacted, they will almost certainly try to negotiate a lower ransom fee. The ransom demand is sometimes made in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, and can range from a few hundred dollars to over a million dollars. “Ransomware after hitting a random person’s system, so I have to pay you half a bitcoin to unlock my system.” Multi-million-dollar ransom demands are not unusual in today’s risky situation. 


The following are the most common ways that ransomware is spread:

  • Malicious attachments or links are sent through email.
  • Intrusion of a network by the use of vulnerable ports and services, such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
  • Removed by other malware outbreaks.
  • Wormable viruses and other forms of ransomware that take use of security weaknesses in networks. 


What is the history behind Ransomware Attacks?

Ransomware dates back to 1989, when the “AIDS virus” was used to extract money from ransomware victims. Payments for the attack were mailed to Panama, and in response, the user received a decryption key. Attackers have become increasingly innovative over time, demanding payments that are nearly hard to trace, allowing hackers to remain anonymous. For example, the well-known ransomware targeting mobile devices is Fusob requires victims to pay using Apple iTunes gift cards rather than normal currencies such as dollars. 

Ransomware attacks rose in popularity with the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that uses encryption to authenticate and secure transactions as well as to control the creation of new units. Ransomware has infected almost every field, with the Hospital attacks being one of the most well-known. This incident attracted attention to the potential for ransomware to cause harm and risk. Laboratories, pharmacies, and emergency departments were among the targets of the attack.  


Why should enterprises be very cautious about Ransomware?

Ransomware is a growing and costly issue for enterprises to be aware of in today’s world. The government ransomware attacks of the previous year caused significant network interruption, delayed constituent services, and expensive recovery procedures. Victims of ransomware possibly lose more than just their machines and files. Legal fees, the purchase of credit monitoring services for staff or consumers, or the decision to pay the ransom might all result in financial losses. The effects of a ransomware attack are particularly devastating when it comes to emergency services and key infrastructure, such as 911 call centers and hospitals. In order to spread ransomware to many entities, CTAs also target managed service providers (MSPs), a company that manages a customer’s IT infrastructure. 

This happens when CTAs infiltrate an MSP’s network and use the MSP’s existing infrastructure to spread ransomware to the MSP’s customers. This takes advantage of the customer’s connection with their MSP, which is based on trust. In recent years, an IT consulting firm has noted a rise in strategies for CTAs to avoid detection and maximize the impact of their attacks. Living off the land (LOTL) is a successful method that involves leveraging publicly available penetration testing suites or tools to target DNS servers and shared files in order to gain network-wide access and install file less ransomware that is immune to signature-based antivirus. 


How to protect your enterprise from a Ransomware Attack?

  • Ensure that you’re using the most up-to-date version of your software. Network providers release updates to address identified security issues. Install these to prevent hackers from exploiting security holes.
  • Back up your files on a regular basis. Use multiple storage systems to minimize data loss and avoid paying ransoms in the event of an attack. 
  • Make use of a variety of security systems. Examples include firewalls, anti-virus software, and spam filters, to name a few. As a result, you will be able to recognize and respond to threats more swiftly. 
  • Employees should be made aware of the issue. Employees are frequently targeted by phishing emails. As a result, people must be aware of how to recognize and avoid scammers. 
  • Authentication with multiple factors should be utilized. This implies that even if hackers get employee passwords, they won’t be able to access your system unless you provide other authentication methods. 


Wrapping Up

Defending against ransomware necessitates a comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck strategy that involves your entire organization. In reality, cybersecurity should begin with preventing hacks in the first place. It is normally best to keep hackers out of the environment in order to prevent them from causing harm. Unfortunately, we already know that the hackers will gain access. Improved security defenses, as well as risk-based user authentication systems and multi-factor authentication solutions, can assist in keeping them out. Connect with a reputable IT consulting firm today to avail cost-effective security solutions to protect your organization against Ransomware attacks.

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