In the wake of some very high profile ransomware attacks on state and local governments, healthcare companies, transportation companies, and even IT companies, the FBI recently issued a public service announcement about the growing ransomware threat. The FBI says that individual ransomware attacks have remained consistently high, but at the same time the attacks are becoming more targeted and more costly, causing the combined losses from ransomware to have increased sharply. Many companies become victims to ransomware due to lack of preparedness, cyber security awareness training, updated software and proper backups.
The ransomware threat is real, so what does the FBI say to do if you are attacked by Ransomware? According to an article on SiliconAngle, the FBI “...does not advocate paying a ransom, in part because it does not guarantee an organization will regain access to its data,” which is a valid concern.
How To Protect Yourself From Ransomware Threats and Attacks
Of course, at Digital Uppercut, we advocate taking steps to prevent your company from suffering the effects of a Ransomware attack in the first place...something that too few companies tend to do, often because of the costs involved. However, compared to the costs of business interruption, loss of customers, potential complications and lawsuits due to the business interruption, PLUS the cost of the ransom itself, protecting yourself is an extremely inexpensive and simpler alternative.
Your protections should include:
- Patch Management, to keep your software updated to patch known vulnerabilities
- Web Filtering, which blocks damage from known bad websites
- Advanced Email Filtering, with links wrapped and attachments sandboxed.
- Advanced Endpoint Protection, to stop known and unknown threats in their tracks
- Awareness Training, so that your entire staff can help identify and prevent malware.
- Encryption of both your local folders and files, as well as cloud-based data.
- Security Operations Center so that a team of experts continually watches over your network security.
- SIEM, continuous real-time automated monitoring of your security logs
- Complete Backups, with encryption, multiple copies, cloud backups, physical offsite backups, and more, so that if (after getting through all of the above), you actually suffer a Ransomware attack, your data can be quickly and easily restored without having to pay a penny of Ransom.
- Ransomware Guarantee, also to be used only in case all else fails, to help restore your company to health. We offer a $1,000,000 Ransomware Guarantee.
What If You’re Not Prepared And You Get Hit By Ransomware
Companies come to us sometimes after being hit with a Ransomware attack. When they do, we do an assessment of their resources and review the prior steps they’ve taken to prevent the attack. We especially look at the backup systems they have installed and how well they are running (or ran). That’s because our first choice is to restore the data from known good backups.
However, often times, sophisticated Ransomware not only encrypts the live data on the network, but also seeks out the backup files it can find on the network and encrypts those as well. In a recent Digital Uppercut blog post about a “ransomware horror story,” we wrote about ransomware that had not only disabled the backup systems but then also deleted all the backup files -- including those stored in the cloud -- weeks prior to encrypting the company’s data. This left the attacked companies with no alternative but to pay the ransom.
Knowing that things like this happen to unprepared companies that ignore the ransomware threat, the FBI also said in their PSA that they understand that “when businesses are faced with an inability to function, executives will evaluate all options to protect their shareholders, employees, and customers,” and acknowledge that sometimes paying the ransom is the only alternative.
But they also warn that paying the ransom proves to the criminals that their tactics work, and makes them (and others) eager to attack more companies.
What Should You Do Now?
When the FBI says the Ransomware threat is getting worse fast, you would be wise to believe them. If you read the list above and didn’t think to yourself that you’ve done all of that to protect your company, then you are at risk. It’s never too early to secure your company’s resources, but it can quickly become too late.
Ransomware threats are growing, ransomware itself is getting more effective and ransomware authors are getting more clever every day. That means the right time to begin protecting yourself is now. Call Digital Uppercut at 818-913-1335 or contact us online any time. We’ll set up a time to assess what you’ve done so far, leverage what you’ve got, and fill in the gaps to make sure you are protected from Ransomware.
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