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What the 2020 Spike in Ransomware Attacks Means to You

Dec 30, 2020, 16:11 PM by Becky Cook

If you’ve been following business or technology news in 2020, you might have noticed a serious uptick in the number and scale of ransomware hacks against businesses. Just a few examples:


  • In June, Honda reported that a ransomware attack forced a shutdown of major parts of its global operations — including production, sales, and development — and left the company no choice but to temporarily close several of its offices.


  • According to a report in Fortune Magazine, hackers in recent months have launched ransomware attacks against dozens of medical facilities across Europe and the US. Targets have included hospitals caring for coronavirus patients and laboratories working on clinical trials for potential treatments.


  • And because cybercriminals like irony, in April a group launched a successful ransomware attack against Cognizant, one of the world’s largest multinational IT firms. Among the digital services the company offers to enterprises? IT security.

 


If these businesses weren’t prepared, what are the odds yours will be?

 

The first thing to recognize here is that Honda and Cognizant are sophisticated, multibillion-dollar organizations. They spend millions of dollars each year safeguarding their networks and digital assets. Cognizant itself is in the cybersecurity business.

 

You can be certain that these companies have prepared themselves for any number of standard hacking attempts. They likely spend a great deal of resources training their employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as not sharing proprietary data on unsecured devices or networks, and how to spot social-engineering scams such as phishing.

 

But when ransomware attackers did manage to break through their defenses, these companies had no choice but to shut down operations and even alert the media about the problem. Why? Because they didn’t have a system in place to immediately recover the data and systems hijacked by the cybercriminals.

 

Ransomware defense is about recovery as much as prevention

 

For any business, a viable defense against ransomware requires more than strategies to prevent it from happening in the first place, although those are critical components. It also requires a plan for dealing with a successful attack. The business needs a plan to gain quick access to the hijacked data and systems—and the ability to resume normal operations—regardless of whether or not the business pays the “ransom” or the ransomware attackers honor their promise to decrypt the stolen data.

 

The only viable solution is true Disaster Recovery 

 

It’s also important to remember that ransomware is designed to act like a digital virus—to find a single, weak entry point into a business’s IT environment and then, once inside, spread to all other connected networks, applications, systems, and devices.

 

Only a true Disaster Recovery solution can give you the ransomware defense that so many organizations are missing: A cloud-based digital environment backing up and storing your corporate data at all times — but completely unconnected to your primary IT environment. 


This way, even if hackers succeed in accessing, infecting, and then encrypting your company’s digital network, you’ll be able to quickly resume operations by switching over to a redundant environment that the ransomware attackers can’t access — and won’t even know you have.

 

And if you’re thinking your business is probably safe because ransomware attackers only launch big, headline-grabbing attacks against large corporations, consider a few statistics from this 2019 Cyber Defense Magazine report:


  • 43% of all cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses

  • Ransomware attacks are increasing an average of 350% annually

  • A business suffers a ransomware attack every 13 seconds

 

Bottom line: No business is immune from the spreading threat of ransomware. Your best protection against an attack is to implement a Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service solution — one that can have your entire organization back up and running safely even while the ransomware crooks are still making their demands.

 

                                           

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