Ransomware attacks are growing more sophisticated by the day. To combat cyber threats, businesses need to strike the right balance of cybersecurity professionals and the technologies to support them. Particularly in the wake of COVID-19 and remote work, as the problem has grown. Businesses with remote operations are using more software and networked devices than ever, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Costs from ransomware attacks are expected to reach over $20 billion in 2021. Let’s learn how to protect your organization and defend against ransomware.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is its own type of pandemic. When a business is infected, there are 3 stages in the attack. First, ransomware encrypts files and denies access to users. Next, malicious actors contact the victimized company and demand ransom payments in exchange for the decryption keys. Usually this story ends with the victims forced to pay the ransom in an anonymous cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Popular “strains” of ransomware include Maze, which stole 100GB of data from Xerox Corporation, and Ryuk, which was responsible for ⅓ of all ransomware attacks in 2020. Thanks to the spread of ransomware as a service, one no longer needs to be a talented hacker to carry out a cyber attack. Given the current legal environment, payouts can cost businesses millions while perpetrators are almost never prosecuted.
Mitigation strategies on the part of businesses are lacking, to say the least. This is especially true for small and medium businesses (SMBs for short). Sixty percent of SMBs do not have a documented cybersecurity policy. They will not know how to respond if they are hit with a ransomware attack, as is likely for 75% of businesses over the next 5 years. Moreover, 58% of businesses have an IT security budget of less than $10,000. For perspective, recovery costs from a cyber attack have reached nearly $2 million per business in 2021. If a business put up the funds for defense now, it could avoid the pain of a ransomware attack later.
Cyber Attacks are Becoming More Complex
Human attackers launch more complicated cyber attacks every year. It follows that responding to their threats would require human expertise. Technology is a powerful tool, but it alone cannot deter motivated attackers. Cybersecurity technology is difficult to deploy, configure, and maintain, especially for those unfamiliar with the specifics. Current artificial intelligence models for cybersecurity are not foolproof. Such software often leads to an explosion of false positives and excessive alerts, making it frustrating and time consuming for a human to sort through every threat without professional help. The average person receives 63.5 notifications every day. Yet employees ignore these warnings at their own peril if a warning exposes a real threat.
Human expertise may be expensive to acquire, but it is an important part of cybersecurity. Trained analysts have an advantage over software in understanding context, relevance, and attack motivations surrounding a potential cyber threat. Humans need a keen eye to weed out the false positives from alerts. When technology and humans work together, they can fight back against the ransomware disease spreading through the global network. See how you can defend against ransomware in the infographic below:
Brian Wallace is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He is an entrepreneur, writer, and podcast host. He is the Founder and President of NowSourcing and has been featured in Forbes, TIME, and The New York Times. Brian previously wrote for Mashable and currently writes for Hacker Noon, CMSWire, Business 2 Community, and more. His Next Action podcast features entrepreneurs trying to get to the next level. Brian also hosts #LinkedInLocal events all over the country, promoting the use of LinkedIn among professionals wanting to grow their careers.