As technology has fully integrated itself into every aspect of our lives, it has unfortunately opened the door to a whole new landscape of security vulnerabilities, hacks and ransomware.
Your security is more crucial than ever. You can no longer “set it and forget it” and hope that you’ll avoid being the next target of an attack.
The Current Threat Landscape
Successful ransomware attacks have dominated headlines recently, from oil giant Colonial Pipeline to beef supplier JBS and universities across the country. The U.S. suffered 65,000 ransomware attacks in 2020, which equates to more than seven ransomware attacks every hour. The Independent IT-Security Institute estimates that there are 390,000 new malicious programs detected every day, promulgated by state-sponsored groups and sophisticated cybercriminals.
The realities of today’s world make cybercrime easier than ever. The untraceable nature of cryptocurrency is the perfect complement to cybercrime. High rates of global unemployment, a heightened need for money, the rise of remote work and easier access to the internet have turned cybercrime into a thriving industry in its own right.
Simply put, ransomware is a serious national, and indeed global, security problem. It will only continue to get worse.
Everyone Is a Potential Target
Cybersecurity headlines tend to focus on large corporations, which can create a false sense of security for smaller companies. In reality, though, cyberattacks are regularly conducted against entities of all sizes, from enterprise corporations, small businesses and even individuals. Today, everyone is a potential target and at risk of a ransomware attack.
Unfortunately, cyberattacks are easy for hackers to perpetrate. “Ready to go” ransomware attacks and “pay as you go” denial of service attacks are widely available for purchase on the dark web and come with technical support and money back guarantees. This means hacking is no longer a contest to see who’s smart enough to penetrate the trillion-dollar enterprises – it’s purely about the money. To cybercriminals, it’s a success whether they manage to ransom $5,000 to recover lost family photos or $5 million to turn a national power grid back on.
While certain businesses or industries may be targeted for attack, attacks are often random drive-bys that affect anyone unlucky enough to click on the wrong attachment or link or visit an infected website. Cybercrime in 2021 is easy and profitable, so we’ll only continue to see an increase and it will be harder and harder to defend against it.
How You Can Protect Your Organization from a Ransomware Attack
When it comes to cybersecurity, your defense is only as strong as your weakest link. In most companies, that weakest link is employees – computers rarely make mistakes, but humans do all the time. User awareness training should be an integral component of every professional cyber protection policy. The more you can train your employees to spot potential attacks and keep them updated on the latest ransomware techniques, the better your chances of avoiding a serious breach.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore the technology side. Before designing and implementing any security solution, you need to balance its ease of use, ROI and available technical proficiencies. On the one hand, you don’t want to deploy solutions that make it difficult for users to perform job functions or take advantage of security features. At the same time, you need to ensure that permanent or contracted security resources are capable of maintaining and supporting deployed systems.
The following are essential to creating a tech stack that meets basic security standards:
- Firewalls and antivirus software to prevent malicious software and files from entering your system in the first place
- An extended network perimeter to increase the boundary between your private, internal network and the part of your network that’s open to the public
- Application whitelisting to exercise control over which software and programs are permitted to run on your hardware and networks
- Network segmentation to divide your network into smaller parts so that more of it will remain secure if one network happens to be breached
That’s just the beginning. Your security choices are more important than ever, and they need to be flexible enough to change as the threat landscape evolves. Cloud-based solutions and outsourcing to dedicated, experienced service providers can make a significant difference when it comes to enhancing your security posture.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it can’t happen to you. Keno Kozie knows IT, security and your industry. Contact us today to learn more.