Endpoint

10/5/2017
05:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

How Businesses Should Respond to the Ransomware Surge

Modern endpoint security tools and incident response plans will be key in the fight against ransomware.

The global rise of ransomware has businesses taking a closer look at their protective tools.

More than one-third (35%) of security pros in Dark Reading's "The State of Ransomware" survey detected ransomware on their systems in the past year. Only 27% say modern antimalware tools are very effective in stopping ransomware; 56% think they are somewhat effective.

Half of IT practitioners believe it will be harder to prevent ransomware from infecting their systems two years from now, researchers found. This begs the question: what are security vendors doing to improve the effectiveness of their systems, and which should businesses use?

"Because ransomware is high-profile, it's an opportunity for practitioners to be proactive and have a discussion about response and upgrading defenses," says Mike Rothman, analyst and president at Securosis. "They go after everybody, and everybody can pay ransom."

Advancing endpoint security

"One of the things we see businesses doing is turning to their messaging security provider first for answers and solutions," says Rob Westervelt, research manager within IDC's security products group. "That's blocking it before it even gets to the end user, which ultimately is best as opposed to having the end user click a malicious attachment or malicious URL."

When attackers bypass messaging filters and employees start clicking malicious attachments that made it into their inboxes, it becomes an endpoint security problem. While he doesn't see many companies building new products to specifically protect against ransomware, Westervelt says there is more messaging from vendors about their ransomware capabilities. Some have begun to add new "bells and whistles" to monitor strange system behavior.

"You have to advance your endpoint protection," says Rothman. If you're dealing with a system from 2013, you don't really stand much of a chance against the attacks that are happening today."

Most endpoint vendors, both traditional antivirus and disruptive startups like Cylance, can monitor for abnormal activity like signs of files being encrypted quickly. Some tools, like Sophos' Intercept X, has technology that can roll back encryption, Westervelt explains. Some solutions, instead of simply alerting to an attack, quarantine a system to ensure it doesn't spread.

"Everyone in endpoint protection is starting to add file monitoring as a new capability in their system," says Rothman. "Looking for anomalous file activity on the endpoint and stopping that … when folks start accessing files that haven't been accessed in a long time, something funky is going on."

Westervelt points to the growth of companies with a stronger focus on file access monitoring. Varonis, for example, solely focuses on data access. It's not so much about looking for malware as it is about monitoring files for abnormal activity. CyberArk, another, focuses on privileged account security. It's not standard AV, he says, but it looks for ransomware behavior.

In addition to monitoring for anomalous file activity, Rothman also advises ensuring you have strong exploit protection and the ability to fight fileless attacks; those that don't use the file system but store the encrypted payload in the registry.

"It's about making sure you're using modern defenses to deal with modern attacks," he continues. "A lot of technology out there is not modern defense."

The problem with additional ransomware protection is the heightened risk of false positives, Westervelt says. A system may start to flag employees who do a lot of encryption and file changes as part of their job, and block behavior that is abnormal but still valid.

"It only takes one false positive, one disruption of an important business deal to cause the CISO to lose their job," he notes.

Preparing a response plan

Regardless of the level of your technical control, Rothman emphasizes the importance of developing a response plan. Many companies don't have a plan, particularly midmarket organizations that pay little attention to security.

"They have to have that initial conversation about what to do if their machines get locked up," he explains. "When your machines are mostly encrypted and showing the 'Pay Us' screen, that's not the time to be figuring this stuff out."

Rothman advises businesses to work through their response processes and what their tolerance would be for a certain set of scenarios. When those are decided, it's time to practice.

"Practice identifies the holes and gaps in your process," he explains. "The only way to figure out what works and what doesn't work is to actually do it … some organizations use tabletop exercises. I can't recommend that enough."

Related Content:

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
dminns@tellall.ca
100%
0%
[email protected],
User Rank: Apprentice
10/6/2017 | 9:32:04 AM
Re: Restore Plans and Backups
Agree 100% with REISEN1955

These endpoint security are only like moats and walls around a castle  - eventually, as history shows, they get breached   -  'air-gapped/ off-site' backups, ready for recovery/continuation are the plan B once the breach occurs. 

 
REISEN1955
100%
0%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
10/6/2017 | 7:11:02 AM
Restore Plans and Backups
I am getting sick and tired of the NEW discoveries being made by the bad management of IT systems when it comes to Ransomware.  OMG - we have been saying for 20 years to have GOOD BACKUP PLANS and TEST them and also have good workstation restore plans and educate users and ...... and yet each time WOW, THIS IS A GREAT NEW IDEA???????
WebAuthn, FIDO2 Infuse Browsers, Platforms with Strong Authentication
John Fontana, Standards & Identity Analyst, Yubico,  9/19/2018
Turn the NIST Cybersecurity Framework into Reality: 5 Steps
Mukul Kumar & Anupam Sahai, CISO & VP of Cyber Practice and VP Product Management, Cavirin Systems,  9/20/2018
NSS Labs Files Antitrust Suit Against Symantec, CrowdStrike, ESET, AMTSO
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/19/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Flash Poll
The Risk Management Struggle
The Risk Management Struggle
The majority of organizations are struggling to implement a risk-based approach to security even though risk reduction has become the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of enterprise security strategies. Read the report and get more details today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-17283
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-21
Zoho ManageEngine OpManager before 12.3 Build 123196 does not require authentication for /oputilsServlet requests, as demonstrated by a /oputilsServlet?action=getAPIKey request that can be leveraged against Firewall Analyzer to add an admin user via /api/json/v2/admin/addUser or conduct a SQL Inject...
CVE-2018-17282
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-20
An issue was discovered in Exiv2 v0.26. The function Exiv2::DataValue::copy in value.cpp has a NULL pointer dereference.
CVE-2018-14592
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-20
The CWJoomla CW Article Attachments PRO extension before 2.0.7 and CW Article Attachments FREE extension before 1.0.6 for Joomla! allow SQL Injection within download.php.
CVE-2018-15832
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-20
upc.exe in Ubisoft Uplay Desktop Client versions 63.0.5699.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code. User interaction is required to exploit this vulnerability in that the target must visit a malicious page or open a malicious file. The specific flaw exists within the processing of URI ha...
CVE-2018-16282
PUBLISHED: 2018-09-20
A command injection vulnerability in the web server functionality of Moxa EDR-810 V4.2 build 18041013 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary OS commands with root privilege via the caname parameter to the /xml/net_WebCADELETEGetValue URI.