Being on guard can be exhausting in any situation. Learning behaviors that can offset the risk of danger can help, but it isn’t always a failsafe solution. Such is the case with ransomware. You need to know the signs to look for when it comes to dangerous links in phishing emails, attachments that seem like they could be legitimate, or scams that direct you to a fraudulent webpage so that you can avoid potential catastrophe. This can be done via training programs that are ongoing and keep you always learning new approaches and tactics as they change (which is constantly!)
One of the problems that we don’t tend to focus on with ransomware, is that it isn’t a one-and-done scenario. If you get foiled by a criminal and are forced to pay a ransom for access to your data, there’s no guarantee that:
A. they will release your network or data from their hold
B. they haven’t already exfiltrated your data before encrypting it
C. it won’t happen again
Trusting a criminal is like gambling, the odds are never entirely in your favor, despite what you may want to believe, you are taking a chance.
So, if we are part of an attack, is it wise to pay the ransom? The White House’s National Security Council strongly advises against it, stating, “the administration has been very clear: Private companies should not pay ransom. It encourages and enriches these malicious actors, continues the cycle of these attacks, and there is no guarantee companies get their data back.”
Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) recently took the approach of not negotiating with cybercriminals and making the ransom payment, a decision that many praised them for. The outcome was that the decryption key was handed over by the hackers, but they published stolen patient data.
So, what can we do in the fight against ransomware?
We must give it our best effort to stay one step ahead and lean the odds in our favor. Don’t take a chance by being unprepared. Strengthen your cybersecurity posture as best you can so that you have more than lady luck on your side when it comes to fighting off the risk of a data breach and attack on your business. And, we can’t say it enough, cyber insurance is an absolute necessity so that in the event of a data breach, you have the right support by your side to recover.
If you’re an MSP, we encourage you to take a look at our ongoing cybersecurity and HIPAA compliance training programs that can help you strengthen your customers’ security posture to help them avoid falling victim to a ransomware attack in the first place.