Ransomware doesn’t have to be a threat to your company. Here’s how to protect yourself

Are you worried about a ransomware attack on your company? You wouldn’t be alone. It used to be a rare means of extorting money from large corporations. But, with so many companies adapting to a remote workforce, no business – large or small – is safe.

Cybercriminals are shifting their focus to SaaS – Software-as-a-Service – open source, and web-based data storage for their hunting grounds. You must take steps to protect your data and your company from this newest cyber threat.

Because attackers are ‘moving up the stack’…

How does ransomware work?

Ransomware invades a single computer through a phishing email, installs malware, and gains access to the entire network in the process.

Software developers are in a race against new ransomware attackers to identify vulnerable codes and patch them across a company’s entire system.

How large is the problem?

Researchers at RiskSense revealed 223 vulnerabilities associated with 125 ransomware families. This massive increase from their 2019 findings – just 57 vulnerabilities tied to 19 ransomware families.

The difference?

Remote workforces that defined business in 2020 with the coronavirus calling the shots. Companies can expect a continued – and nimble – assault to threaten business in 2021, as well.

Here are four of the most common means by which cybercriminals are holding companies for ransom.

  1. Remote desktops

This represented the largest source of vulnerabilities in 2020, and without taking action, it will be a threat again in 2021.

Cybercriminals use ‘brute force’ to infiltrate Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP) and gain a foothold in the company’s network.

They take advantage of the fact that businesses were scrambling to enable a remote workforce and left gaps in their programming. They’re quick to identify those vulnerabilities and access one desktop in an extensive network.

  1. The Cloud

Ransomware flourishes in a data-dense environment. Any SaaS that contains large volumes of data in the cloud is ripe for an attack…

The measures that make teams share information from multiple locations also left a door open to cyber threats.

Users rely on the software providers to patch vulnerabilities in their product…and until they do, the company is at risk of suffering a ransomware attack.

The cloud can be a safe way of storing and sharing data…with the correct implementation.

  1. Big Game Hunting

CrowdStrike identifies this as a new and growing tactic – going for a bigger target with a sustained and patient assault on a company’s network.

Attackers deliver and activate ransomware on multiple systems simultaneously instead of targeting a single endpoint. They move laterally rather than vertically through the network, maximizing the damage they can inflict on the company – increasing their leverage and the odds of being paid a ransom.

Unfortunately, some organizational backup and recovery strategies aren’t up to the task of thwarting these lateral attacks – company-wide operations are at risk. The breach can be perceived as more serious – scare-tactic cybercriminals are leveraging.

What’s more, attackers share their tools and techniques, building a base of knowledge that enables a bigger pool of hunters to operate.

  1. Ignoring the past

It’s common in the high-tech world to keep your sights set on tomorrow’s innovations – whether they’re enhancements in productivity software or more effective malware.

However, as RiskSense points out, many of the ransomware threats that exist today have been in circulation for years.

Companies often make the mistake of focussing on the here-and-now threats that are listed in the National Vulnerability Database and don’t repair errors in coding that were reported in 2017 and 2018.

But they can’t assume those channels are closed. In fact, cybercriminals are relying on you to keep them open because you’re assuming they’re obsolete.

Take the time to go back over the records from 2017, 2018, and 2019 and be sure you’ve cut off those points of vulnerability…across your entire network.

Ransomware doesn’t have to be your burden

For CEOs and managers, the task of keeping a company afloat in today’s business climate is already a daunting task. Supply-chain interruptions, health authorities telling you how and when your teams and clients can interact in person. Shifting schedules and dealing with absences…

Cybercriminals capitalize on that chaos to ramp up their attacks, not just on giant corporations with a dedicated IT department.

If you’re a small or medium-sized business trying to adapt your practices to continue – and not just survive but thrive – in this coronavirus climate, you probably need help with your computer viruses.

That’s where our knowledge and expertise come to the table. For example, we can help you implement multi-factor authentication as the first line of defense against threats to home computers used by your team.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we have the software solutions for your company, no matter your size or how far-flung your team might be at the moment.

We’re experts at collaborative and productive remote working. Contact us, and we’ll share our solutions to your business problems.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Feedback and comments are always welcome. If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact me at adam.pearson@amaxra.com You can also connect with me via LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/adampearson44.

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Limited time offer: Let Amaxra manage your Office 365 licensing and we will configure security such as multi-factor authentication at no additional cost. Email technology@amaxra.com or chat with us on this website to find out more.

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