The rise of ransomware has financially damaged thousands of organizations and individuals worldwide in the last couple of years and it will only get worse. Herjavec Group stated in one of its reports that the cost of ransomware attack could reach up to $1 billion this year.
In the Hackerpocalypse: A Cybercrime Revelation report it is estimated that last year cyber-crime victims pay out $24 million to ransomware attackers. However, this year in just the first three months they pay out $209 million and it is estimated that the total cost will reach up to $1 billion by the end of 2016. In 2015 the overall annual cost of global cyber-crime was estimated to be $3 trillion but in 2016, as according to overall situation, it is estimated to double.
Having in mind that the cost of the ransomware attack could reach this much makes us overthink our actions. Many experts believe that organizations and individuals who think that there is no other option but to pay the ransom, have led to the massive popularity of ransomware attack among cyber-criminals.
Since ransomware itself has a profitable nature, cyber-criminals will not only continue deploying ransomware but they will also start attacking bigger and bigger targets in order to get more money. On the other hand, the safe net of the bitcoin has led to a safe and easy demand of money so the question that arises here is: Why would they stop?!
Well they won’t and because of that you have to plan your best defense strategies.
For a business getting attacked by a ransomware means losing sensitive data, money, time, reputation, productivity, corporate or personal finances, sensitive employee data, and other valuable content.
However, the good news is that there is a lot of practices a business can do to protect their data, their employees and their customers. Below you can find few of them:
SHARE THE WORD ON CYBER SECURITY IMPORTANTCE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION
While many organizations think it is needles to talk about the cyber risks an organization faces and analyze the consequences of taking the risk, we on the other hand cannot overstate the importance of this practice.
Here we are not talking only about ransomware attack but also about a growing number of advanced threats which are lurking around your business. By simply believing that the ransomware attack will not happen to your organization doesn’t help much.
The management of a company must understand the risk they are dealing with and come up with concrete ways how to overcome it.
Cybercrime is not a joke and people behind it are serious experts with a pretty much defined target list and goals.
DEVELOP BUSINESS SECURITY POLICIES AND FOLLOW THEM
Since many organizations have not yet developed and published detailed cyber security policies we strongly recommend that while you share the awareness on cyber security importance in your organization you should also focus on development of detailed and thorough policies.
These policies should cover every tool (social media accounts, web, emails, mobile and PC devices and etc.) that your IT department has deployed or that is used within your internal infrastructure.
They should include legal obligations to encrypt emails and other tools that contain sensitive data, to control any device that is connected to the organization’s system and to constantly check and monitor communications within organizations networks for a possible hidden malware.
Established policies will not 100% protect you from ransomware or any other cyber-attack but they will certainly be useful in limiting the number of tools that employees use when accessing organizations resources and they will also be useful in reducing the number of malware attempts which can access your network.
ALWAYS KEEP EVERYTHING UP-TO DATE
Every application, system and software that is used in your organization should be checked regularly for vulnerabilities and brought up-to-date using the latest patches from vendors since open system vulnerabilities can allow cyber-criminals to successfully intrude corporate loss defense system.
BACK UP, BACK UP, AND ONE MORE TIME BACK UP
The most common and best advice you can get is to back up and don’t just knock with your head after your read this. Do it!
Regular up-to-date backups are the most reliable method for recovering lost or infected data. In order to be more effective, Gary Warner advises that a backup must be “serialized”, with older versions of files available in case newer versions have been corrupted or encrypted.
Ransomware tries mostly to encrypt data on a connected network therefore the best would be to store the backed up data in an offline environment far away from ransomware attacker’s eyes.
DEPLOY PROACTIVE RANSOMWARE PROTECTION
Cyber criminals will easily find a way to attack an organization that doesn't do regular backups and failed to invest in need-to-have anti-ransomware solutions. It is always wiser to choose ransomware protection over expensive pay outs to hackers. Every organization should implement a cyber security solution with a specific emphasis on the ransomware protection capabilities.
Follow the above mentioned steps and you will never get in the situation to pay to cyber criminals. Remember to install a proactive ransomware protection that is always up-to-date and continue doing your business worry-free without worrying that any minute your data can be stolen.
Do an analysis of various ransomware solutions. Here you can find a report on best ransomware solutions that can help you out in making your decision.