In 2019, the number of reported ransomware incidents worldwide decreased as a result of cybercriminals favoring other types of attacks such as cryptojacking and botnet malware. These methods are much more efficient in stealing confidential data and earning a profit. That doesn't mean you no longer need to protect against ransomware. These trends show why you still need ransomware protection in 2020.
Businesses still pay the ransom
In a 2019 study by security firm Coveware, the average ransom payment more than doubled — from $41,198 in Q3 to $84,116 in Q4. Small businesses, meanwhile, are paying as much as $1,500 to the criminals behind ransomware like Dharma, Snatch, and Netwalker because of extended downtime.
Despite the FBI’s advice, some organizations still pay the ransom because they feel that this is the easiest way to ensure business continuity and prevent downtime. They also tend to pay ransom when backup and disaster recovery measures do not work as planned.
In the same study, 98% of those who paid the ransom received a decryption tool. But in many cases, getting a decryptor isn’t guaranteed. Despite receiving a ransom payment, some cybercriminals will not provide a decryptor, so it’s best to stay cautious.
Anyone can now deploy ransomware
Because organizations are paying ransom, cybercriminals are more encouraged to deploy ransomware. According to ConnectWise CISO John Ford, ransomware is becoming accessible on the black market. Cybercriminals are selling their codes outright, making it easy for anyone to launch their own ransomware campaign.
This is called Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), where a ransomware seller provides technical resources to execute an attack, while the code is further modified by the buyer to avoid antivirus detection.
According to Ford, this is what will make RaaS attacks rampant in 2020. Ransomware evolves faster than security solutions, which gives attackers a head start against security teams and makes organizations more vulnerable to attacks.
Should you pay the ransom?
While it's tempting to pay ransom, you should never do so. There is simply no guarantee that you'll get your files back. Doing so only fuels hackers’ desire to fund future cyberattacks and target other companies. Paying the ransom also does not guarantee that your files will be decrypted.
How to protect your business from ransomware
#1. Keep offline backups
Many ransomware variants can render a system inoperable, making internal backup restoration practically useless. To mitigate data loss, keep your important files in external storage systems like memory cards, flash and external hard drives, CDs/DVDs, or magnetic tapes. Because the files are outside the system, they cannot be infected by the ransomware.
#2. Educate your employees
Your employees are most vulnerable to ransomware attacks, so you need to educate them on what ransomware is and demonstrate how dangerous it is. Also, make sure they stay away from suspicious websites and refrain from downloading potentially malicious files.
#3. Keep your security software updated
Many ransomware strains infect files by exploiting the flaws in antivirus and anti-malware software. Ensure that your security software is always updated, as updates can prevent ransomware from damaging your system.
#4. Partner with a managed IT services provider (MSP)
Your small business might not have enough resources to fend off ransomware attacks for good, so partner with a reliable MSP that can. An MSP like PC LAN TECHS will act as your remote IT team to protect you from ransomware attacks and all cyberthreats by designing customized network defenses.
They can also optimize and protect your IT infrastructure while monitoring it round-the-clock to ensure business continuity. What’s more, MSPs only charge a small monthly fee that’s cheaper than paying a full-time staff.
Your business needs the best protection from all cyberthreats, including ransomware. Trust PC LAN TECHS to take care of your systems. Our ransomware solutions will proactively protect your endpoints and provide you with the necessary recovery tools if you fall victim to a ransomware attack. Schedule a FREE security assessment with us today.