Preparing for the fight against cyber attacks: Making proactive defense against ransomware a priority

Preparing for the fight against cyber attacks: Making proactive defense against ransomware a priority

Industry will soon face a reality where organizations are attacked every two seconds by threat actors that continue to evolve their tools and tactics.

Ransomware has become a major concern for businesses in the last decade. Cybercriminals have found it to be a lucrative tactic, with average ransomware payments now reaching close to a million dollars. To make matters worse, many criminal groups are now offering their tools and services on ransomware as a service marketplaces.

The increasing impact of ransomware is alarming, with global damage estimated to reach $265 billion annually within the next decade. With businesses permanently connected to the internet, the threat of being attacked every two seconds by evolving threat actors is a harsh reality.

However, the advancement of cybersecurity strategies is keeping pace with the growth of ransomware. CISOs can implement new processes and tactics to defend against ransomware as they develop their cybersecurity plans. The key is to adopt a modern approach to cybersecurity that stays ahead of the evolving threats.

Today, ransomware attacks are being carried out by various specialist groups and threat actors. The situation has become even more complicated due to the fact that some of these criminal organizations sell their tools through a ransomware-as-a-service model, allowing anyone with access to a bank account or cryptocurrency wallet to launch ransomware attacks through the dark web with ease.

Most common types of ransomware fall into six distinct categories:

Crypto Ransomware: This type of ransomware infiltrates individual computers and networks, encrypting files and making them inaccessible. The attacker then demands payment, often in the form of cryptocurrency, threatening to delete the encrypted files if the ransom is not paid. Failure to pay the ransom results in permanent loss of the victim’s data.

Locker Ransomware: Unlike crypto-style ransomware, which blocks access to specific files, locker ransomware disables entire devices, denying the user access to any files or programs until a ransom is paid. This type of ransomware primarily targets computer systems, but some variants are designed to lock Internet of Things (IoT) and smart home devices.

Ransomware as a Service (RaaS): This is a form of ransomware that is sold by anonymous hacking groups to automate the process of targeting businesses, compromising networks, collecting payments, and releasing files. For a percentage of the ransom or a flat fee, these tools make it easier than ever to carry out sophisticated ransomware attacks on individuals and organizations.

Scareware: Scareware refers to a form of ransomware that uses fear tactics to trick users into downloading malware disguised as antivirus software or paying a ransom. This malware can display pop-up messages and simulated programs to make it appear as though files have been stolen or encrypted.

Leakware/Doxware: Leakware, also known as Doxware, is a malicious type of ransomware that infiltrates systems and threatens to publicly release sensitive user information. This type of ransomware is particularly dangerous for organizations and businesses that handle private data, as it demands a ransom payment in exchange for the safe return of the data.

Double Extortion: Modern ransomware frequently involves multiple facets of cyberattacks. This type of attack, known as double extortion, combines techniques to compromise systems, encrypt data, steal sensitive information and demand ransom for its return and decryption. The unique aspect of these attacks is that victims are compelled to pay twice, once for the return of the data and again for its decryption, making it a multi-step process.

The diverse and intricate nature of ransomware today renders traditional antivirus software and firewalls insufficient, putting enterprises at risk of losing productivity, data and damaging customer trust. If proper security measures are not implemented, IT teams will be diverted from their core responsibilities such as developing new products and services and instead focus on investigating infected storage systems, data recovery and coordinating with emergency consultants and crisis managers.

Hacks against future hacks

Modernizing security can be achieved by incorporating protection capabilities directly into storage systems. By doing so, security teams can detect potential threats, minimize the risk of attack and effectively recover both structured and unstructured data while also analyzing the source of the attack. This approach also enables several features that make systems more resilient against future cyberthreats.

Detecting behavioral anomalies

Ransomware attacks often involve the encryption of a large number of files, resulting in multiple read, write, and rename events. To combat this, businesses can utilize built-in threat models to detect such activity and generate ransomware alerts. Upon detecting anomalous behavior indicative of an attack, configurable remediation policies activate automated responses, such as blocking the client session or IP address responsible for the attack.

Making file sets immutable

Enterprises can safeguard their data from malicious attacks and ransomware by transforming it into read-only mode as it is saved in a storage system, resulting in the creation of immutable file sets. These file sets can be assigned a retention date, protecting the data from any modification or deletion until the specified period has passed. As a result, the most sensitive data is protected and cannot be altered or deleted once written.

Isolating management networking

By separating the management network from the read/write traffic utilized by data services, the security of shared file storage data is greatly improved. Additionally, utilizing effective management techniques across multiple virtual networks can further decrease the potential for attack and implement necessary controls to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Sharp, strategic and secure

Cyberattacks, including the rising threat of ransomware, are unavoidable for businesses. To effectively counter these threats and minimize their impact, companies must take a proactive approach to threat detection and remediation. This includes implementing efficient data management and security strategies to safeguard centralized storage and ensure quick recovery and restoration of operations in case of an attack. CISOs and their teams cannot guarantee immunity from ransomware attacks, making it imperative to act now and secure systems for the future. Additionally, prompt response to regulatory and legal requirements is crucial in mitigating the aftermath of a cyberattack.