Cyberattacks targeting public agencies and school communities are an increasing threat each year. In 2020 alone there were nearly 1,700 reported cyber threat events spanning all 50 states in the Education field. Although a wide range of attack methods are used, the most common are breaches, hacks and phishing attacks resulting in personal data disclosure, ransomware attacks, and denial-of-service attacks. Below are three key defensive checkpoints to help protect your organization against malicious ransomware.
The Need to Defend Against Ransomware
As organizations and schools leverage technology for remote working and distance learning, the number and severity of ransomware attacks has risen dramatically. Both the FBI and the U.S. government Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced that the number of ransomware attacks rose dramatically during the second half of 2020, so they encourage public sector organizations to implement best practices, tools and resources that help mitigate ransomware risk.
Review the CISA Ransomware Guide as a resource to help protect against Ransomware.
The Ransomware Challenge
Ransomware has evolved into enterprise-grade malware that holds computers and data files hostage, locks down entire systems swiftly, and brings business to a halt for days to months on end. In a scenario where ransomware has already bypassed your existing security solutions, its objective is to encrypt and corrupt as much of your critical data as possible, typically residing on file shares. Newer versions are capable of encrypting thousands of files per minute. You will then either pay the attacker (which sadly funds more attacks) to retrieve the files, with no guarantee that they will actually provide them to you, or you will lose the data forever.
Cybercriminals are constantly developing new and innovative methods to defeat traditional, prevention-based detection methods. Exacerbating the issue is the fact that many public agencies, including schools, do not have large IT teams and big budgets. Ransomware is a very challenging threat that can go undetected inside a network before delivering its payload.
Even if the malware has bypassed all of your existing endpoint protection, how do you detect and stop the ongoing criminal encryption and find out which user was compromised with ransomware? It is important for your organization to be prepared for every scenario in the event of a ransomware outbreak.
Next Step: Ransomware Assessment
If your organization is unsure of how it stands against a ransomware attack, complete a ransomware assessment test to see if your existing security solutions reacts to ransomware behavior (encryption, rapid file corruption and known signatures) on your file- and cloud shares, using a safe ransomware simulation tool.Schedule an Assessment. This is available through our supplier partner, Ricoh, so you can better understand how this may affect your organization.
Preparing For After An Attack: Last Line of Defense
It is always best for your organization to have a response plan in the event of a ransomware outbreak. Your organization should also consider adding a ransomware containment product to stop criminals encryption and file corruption as a result of an ongoing ransomware outbreak. Implementing a solution where encryption and file corrupted is detected and stopped on monitored file- and cloud shares is vital, while also isolating compromised users causing encryption. This mitigates the risk that it spreads to the rest of the environment, saving your agency or school from very costly downtime.
Public agency and school organizations can look to an easy-to-deploy product like Ricoh’s Ransomware Containment, powered by BullWall RC (RansomCare) and available through OMNIA Partners. This proven and automated technology detects ongoing criminal encryption and file corruption on monitored file- and cloud shares in seconds by monitoring the file activity to the monitored shares. It causes no network overhead and is entirely agentless.
This solution will detect and stop the damaging criminal encryption on the monitored shares, even when the ransomware has bypassed all existing endpoint protection and other prevention or behavioral security tools. A product like this one immediately raises an alert and triggers an automatic response to shut down and disconnect the user and device causing the criminal encryption outbreak.
Ensure your organization implements a ransomware containment product —as it is a vital element of an overall defense strategy, providing critical security defense for a small portion of your available security budget.
Watch the RansomCare video to better understand how this product could help your organization. RansomCare is available through the Ricoh cooperative contract with OMNIA Partners.