By the end of last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received 2,047 ransomware attack complaints, accounting for approximately $8.9 million in losses. In fact, researchers are predicting that email-based ransomware attacks will continue to rise, especially as more people work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the rise in incidents, the average ransom amount has actually dropped: In some cases, as low as $100 in Bitcoin. The big question facing businesses today, however, isn’t the average ransom amount demanded from cybercriminals. It’s how the business should prepare for a ransomware threat and whether it should pay (or not pay).
You’ve probably heard it before: Ransomware and other malware can gain access to your entire company’s data and systems through seemingly innocuous digital activities (e.g., opening an infected email attachment, visiting a corrupted website, clicking on a malicious digital advertisement). Once infected, the ransomware can encrypt your data or otherwise block your ability to access information or systems. It happens all the time and it can render a business incapacitated.
In many instances a person may unknowingly infect not only his or her computer, but the company’s network and data infrastructure as well. That is, until you lose access to your data or receive a ransom demand! As with most IT security initiatives, it’s important to have a plan in place for how you will address ransomware attacks.
Your ransomware action plan should include input and buy-in from key stakeholders throughout your organization. Protecting your business from ransomware is an organization-wide initiative, so it’s important to include representatives across the organization as well.
Here are three items to include in your action plan:
Outlining the details and responsible parties will help your team create a solid action plan that can be executed immediately should a threat occur.
Proactive, organization-wide security measures
Preventing an attack should be priority number one. Through effective security measures and staff training, your organization can minimize the risk to your organization.
Cybercriminals and cybercrime are not going away. As businesses continue to evolve and adopt new technologies, cybercriminals will do the same and will attempt new, sophisticated methods of attacking your systems. Although you can’t prevent cybercriminals from trying, you can prepare your team and your business to defend against them – or in the worst-case scenario, quickly and effectively address an attack to minimize disruption and losses.