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Ransomware is Bigger Than Ever

FEATURE / 07.27.17 / Kim Crawley

Ransomware has become such a huge cybersecurity problem these days that it even hits the mainstream news. WannaCry crippled organizations worldwide. Variants of the Petya ransomware family, first discovered last year, devastated Ukrainian industry near the end of June 2017.

Amidst all of the chaos, security software developer Druva released their findings in their latest enterprise ransomware report, after surveying more than 800 IT professionals.

Here are some of the most intriguing findings:

  • 80% of organizations rely on backups to recover and restore crucial data after a ransomware attack. So back up everything!
  • Endpoints are no longer the only ransomware target. 33% of respondents have experienced ransomware attacks on servers.
  • Ransomware is like potato chips. You can't always just eat one. Nearly 50% of respondents have faced multiple ransomware attacks.
  • Ransomware isn't easy to contain. 70% of attacks reported by organizations spread to multiple devices.
  • Enterprises of all sizes and geographic locations are affected. The survey finds the ransomware impact is roughly equal across small, medium and large businesses, and different devices types.
  • Here's what concerns me most: 825 of respondents have noted an increase in ransomware attacks.

Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh emphasizes the importance of the survey's findings:

“It’s no longer a question of if an organization will be the victim of a ransomware attack, but when. Druva’s Annual Ransomware Report underscores the importance of planning. Simply put, protecting data protects your bottom line. It’s no surprise that more and more companies are relying on backup to recover from ransomware attacks. Simple preventative planning greatly mitigates what could otherwise be costly and destructive to data recovery, not to mention devastating to overall business viability.”

I first encountered ransomware in remote Windows support over a decade ago. Back then, it just affected Windows client operating systems, but now all major platforms, consumers and enterprises alike, are at risk of ransomware. Even Linux and OS X are targets these days, as are mobile devices that run iOS and Android! And don’t forget that PCs, servers, and mobile devices are all at risk for ransomware attacks. My colleagues and I also believe that Internet of Things (IoT) ransomware is only a matter of time, as it’s widely considered the new attack threat surface.

The main takeaway is that everyone should backup data that they don't want to lose, period – no matter where it’s stored or how valuable you consider it to be. Have some backups that aren't connected to the Internet, if at all possible. Don’t pay ransoms - not only will you most likely NOT get your data decrypted by paying a ransom, but it also encourages cyber criminals to continue making and distributing ransomware. And of course, always patch your operating systems and applications as frequently as possible.

Kim Crawley

About Kim Crawley

Kimberly Crawley spent years working in consumer tech support. Malware-related tickets intrigued her, and her knowledge grew from fixing malware problems on thousands of client PCs. By 2011, she was writing study material for the InfoSec Institute’s CISSP and CEH certification exam preparation programs. She’s since contributed articles on information security topics to CIO, CSO, Computerworld, SC Magazine, and 2600 Magazine. Her first solo-developed PC game, Hackers Versus Banksters, and was featured at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May 2016. She now writes for Tripwire, Alienvault, Cylance, and CCSI’s corporate blogs.

The opinions expressed in guest author articles are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Cylance or BlackBerry Ltd.