Recovery Tips

Chris Swagler | March 7th, 2022

 

In 2021, ransomware evolved from a new attack vector to a viable criminal business model. Threat actors profit by holding their victims’ data, infrastructure, economic output, intellectual property, and even privacy hostage. Companies may feel compelled to pay cyber extortion fees and begin the recovery process after exhausting all other options for restoring operations. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) is a business model in which threat actors rent out malware variants; RaaS kits may include support, bundled offers, reviews, and forum access. Threat actors are unlikely to feel brand loyalty towards ransomware groups and align themselves with whatever variant is available to inflict the most damage.

The world saw an explosion of new and invasive ransomware variants in the first half of 2021. Surprisingly, the second half of the year saw a near-complete shift: among top ransomware variants, only Conti ransomware was consistently seen. Ransomware variants changed dramatically over the year, which demonstrates cyber criminals’ opportunistic nature: they will target businesses of all sizes and industries and use whatever ransomware variants are available, easy to use, and successful.

Even for companies with good backups and cyber insurance, recovering from a ransomware attack can be a lengthy process. Companies need to utilize a combination of security tools and best practices to prevent devastating incidents in the future. Here are some tips on how to recover from a ransomware attack and prevent future attacks.

Recovery Tips For Preventing Future Cyberattacks

  1. Maintain Good Backups – After a ransomware attack, a good data backup can mean the difference between a complete loss and a complete recovery. Create a routine for backing up all business data and regularly test backups to ensure they are working. In storing essential data separate from the primary network, it is strongly recommended to keep one copy of your data with a different backup format and one backup stored offsite. On-site backups frequently use the same credentials as the rest of the network making it easier for ransomware variants to delete or encrypt backups.
  1. Keep Servers Updated and Patched – Updating servers as soon as security patches are released can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a full-fledged ransomware attack. Following the release of major security vulnerabilities including ProxyLogon and Log4j, threat actors scan for and exploit servers that have not been updated. Because an unpatched server can become patient zero, companies that keep all their servers updated are less likely to experience ransomware.
  1. Implement Strong Password and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – Companies are strongly recommended to adopt strong password guidelines. Additionally, a combination of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and strong passwords can help reduce threat actors’ success in stealing user credentials. MFA requires a tool or piece of data that a threat actor cannot easily compromise, including a mobile application or biometric data. 
  1. Disable Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Implement Zero Trust Protocol – One of the most common ways for ransomware groups to infiltrate companies’ networks is through remote access points, especially RDP. Many companies have turned to RDP to support remote and hybrid work models, but if not properly configured and secured, they can also serve as an easy entry point for threat actors. It is further recommended that companies implement a virtual private network (VPN) to provide secure remote access.

With ransomware groups evolving into a viable criminal business model and new and invasive ransomware variants emerging frequently, companies of all sizes and industries need to remain vigilant on the current threat landscape and always keep their network security software updated to prevent potential ransomware attacks. At SpearTip, our certified engineers continuously monitor companies’ networks at our 24/7/365 Security Operations Center for potential ransomware variant threats. We specialize in incident response capabilities and handling breaches with one of the fastest response times in the industry. Our ShadowSpear Platform is an unparalleled resource that optimizes visibility and prevents cyber threats from impacting companies. ShadowSpear can integrate with could, network, and endpoint devices to provide an extra layer of cyber security protection.

If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Centers at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine if my business is adequately protected against ransomware attacks?

Implementing a multi-layered approach to security that includes regular backups, network segmentation, and employee training. It also recommends working with a trusted security partner to assess your current security posture and identify any vulnerabilities.

Are there any specific industries or types of businesses that are more vulnerable to ransomware attacks?

Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can target any business that relies on technology to store and manage data.

What steps can I take to ensure that my employees are educated and trained on ransomware prevention and response?

Employee education and training are key components of ransomware prevention. Implementing a comprehensive security awareness program that includes regular training sessions, simulated phishing exercises, and clear policies and procedures for reporting and responding to security incidents.

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