You may notice that ransomware is on the rise, but do you realize what the numbers are? According to Statista, in 2020, there were close to 300 million ransomware attacks worldwide. Alongside the increase in attacks, hackers are demanding more in ransom payments. In 2021, the global annual cost of ransomware attacks was $20 billion according to Cybercrime Magazine.
A ransomware attack can affect any organization regardless of size or industry. In fact, SMBs are the most vulnerable since cybercriminals count on them to lack the resources to battle cybercrime or the IT teams to often evaluate cybersecurity measures. Although these attacks on SMBs are not uncommon, these attacks rarely get reported or noticed on the news unless a huge corporation experiences a breach.
Cybercrime Magazine reminds businesses that ransomware hits them every 11 seconds—therefore, when it comes to these attacks, it’s a question about WHEN your business will come under attack, not IF. With the right security solutions and measures in place, your business will not have to experience a terrible breach, but you should know a few things if you experience a ransomware attack.
Before reacting to a ransomware attack, remember:
1. The FBI advises against paying a ransom, because spending money does not guarantee that the hackers will share the keys to decrypt your data. Also, why should you trust them in the first place as they have shown that they are not afraid of breaking the law to take advantage of you for financial gain?
The FBI also advises you not give into cybercriminals’ ransomware demands, because you would be encouraging them to conduct further attacks. If nobody ever paid ransom, there would be likely less ransomware attacks, and they would have to find alternate outlets to make money and disregard ransomware as a viable venture.
2. “Ransomware negotiators” are for hire if you fall into a position where you have no other option but to pay the ransom.
In ransomware negotiations, the most crucial moment occurs long before the victim and hackers discuss the ransom. Why? Because by the time both start to discuss, the hackers have already gained considerable control over the organization’s network by encrypting access to sensitive business data and other digital assets—the more data they encrypt, the greater the negotiating power they have.
Before you even begin negotiations, you need to know how much data has been compromised and what negotiating methods have been used in the past by the criminals. This is where professional ransomware negotiators can assist. Although a ransomware negotiation rarely results in a ransom demand being totally withdrawn, it can significantly bring down the asking price.
3. Victims of ransomware should expect the following:
- The data will not be erased in a trustworthy manner; it will be sold, improperly handled, or stored for future extortion attempts.
- Multiple parties would have handled the exfiltrated data making it insecure. Even if the hacker deletes a large portion of the data once the ransom is paid, other parties who had access to it may have made copies to make payment demands later.
- Before a victim can respond to an extortion attempt, the data may get leaked intentionally or not intentionally.
- Even if the threat actor promises to release the encrypted data after payment, there is absolutely nothing to ensure that they will.
Make your move before it’s too late
Layered security is our best recommendation to combat ransomware targeting vulnerable systems.
No security tool is indestructible or foolproof, so layered security assumes that attackers will infiltrate different layers of an organization’s defenses or have already done so. The goal is to provide multiple security measures that if an attack gets past one security tool, there are others in place to help identify and stop the attack before touching your data.
Taking these measures to prevent cyberattacks from your business may be overwhelming and stressful to do alone, so we highly suggest that you collaborate with an experienced partner like us to do the heavy lifting for you. Our cybersecurity expertise and knowledge will help you pave the way to a more secure future. To get started, contact us for a consultation.