Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

8/31/2016
10:00 AM
David Jones
David Jones
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

How Not To Pay A Ransom: 3 Tips For Enterprise Security Pros

At the most basic level, organizations must understand their data, the entry points, and who has access. But don't forget to keep your backup systems up to date.

Securing the enterprise is complex and always evolving. Ransomware has been garnering more and more attention from CIOs as well as CISOs as it impacts every organization from a financial, efficiency, and brand perspective.

Ransomware’s alarming growth, in conjunction with the velocity that ransomware variants are being published, are positioning the enterprise market to quickly catch up to the consumer market in terms of exposure and vulnerability. Consider:

  • The FBI estimates that crooks extorted $209 million in ransoms in the first three months of 2016 alone.
  • McAfee's recent Threats Report has discovered 5,000 versions of 21 mobile applications that are being used to operate mobile collusion attacks on victims.
  • The introduction and tracking of the ransomware “FLocker” which attacks Android-based applications and has crossed platforms to lock smart TVs.

Ransomware is typically introduced into a corporate network through an individual employee.  The employee is a victim of phishing, spear phishing, “social engineering” and similar deceptions designed to trick employees into clicking a link that launches the software. From this point of entry, ransomware spreads like wildfire across less secured document-sharing servers like SharePoint and other collaboration services used by employees.

To date, the healthcare sector has gained a large number of national headlines for being victims of ransomware. Most recently, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in California paid off its attackers (approximately $17,000 in the form of Bitcoins) to restore access to their healthcare data.

I believe that what we have seen happen in the healthcare industry is only a starting point for ransomware. In today’s competitive marketplaces, organizations are supporting the distributed enterprise, which includes connecting the edge of the enterprise to corporate networks. Additionally, we are seeing organizations move toward the Internet of Things (IoT). These two trends are on a collision course, exposing vulnerabilities within a corporate network and making enterprises ripe for greater ransomware attacks.

How can enterprises prevent the introduction of ransomware and mitigate the risk once a breach has been introduced? At the most basic level, organizations must understand their data, the entry points, and who has access. This information insight, if gathered on a proactive basis, creates the foundation for advanced information management and governance policies which are your best option for minimizing the impact of ransomware. Below are three tips to ensure that your organization does not pay a ransom:

Tip 1: Proactively understand and protect your data.  This is not a simple task, however it is essential if you want to manage your risk, prepare for the future, and eliminate the threat of ransomware before you are victim. It requires that enterprises categorize and assign information by relative value, sensitivity, and risk. Categorizing information insight allows you to create proper records management and information governance procedures to ensure that your most important data is always secured and archived. In doing so, organizations are often able recover the ransomware encrypted files without having to pay a ransom. 

For example, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital paid $17,000 because they could not say for sure whether the infected PCs contained sensitive information or not. Had they followed proper records-keeping procedures, they would not be worried about losing data to the cybercriminals.

Tip 2: It’s not your father’s backup and recovery.  Backing up data in a legacy fashion exposes your organization to risk and unnecessary cost. Today’s enterprises need to consider backup and recovery solutions that allow for backing up of data on the go, storing previous revisions of the files, offer effective file recovery techniques, and isolate the backup environment such that ransomware cannot access backup data.

Tip 3: Ransomware is an evolving threat. Today’s cybercriminals are evolving their techniques to access critical applications like email, and holding the data ransom until paid.  In June, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reported that its system had been compromised. But unlike DNC hackers that leveraged the unlimited access to the DNC’s systems for intelligence, today’s cybercriminals could target any company and threaten to encrypt, copy, and publish that data if not paid.

Related Content:

David Jones is senior vice president and general manager of the information management and governance business unit within HPE. In this role, he is responsible for defining the business vision, strategy and goals and driving the product management, sales, marketing, service ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Joop1
50%
50%
Joop1,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/11/2016 | 3:46:16 PM
mynet
Very good site thank you www.eskimynet.net
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
9/2/2016 | 6:08:04 AM
Re: Great article
Good catch on the DNC! Correction made to Democratic National Committee. Thanks.
BloggerChristine
50%
50%
BloggerChristine,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/1/2016 | 3:46:40 PM
Great article
Great article, thanks.  I think that's Democratic National Committee though, not convention.  

Love this point here:

At the most basic level, organizations must understand their data, the entry points, and who has access. This information insight, if gathered on a proactive basis, creates the foundation for advanced information management and governance policies which are your best option for minimizing the impact of ransomware

Understanding the environment is often overlooked.  Many professionals end up with 'blind spots' that develop over time, and they don't realize this until a crisis pops up and exposes them.  

More SolarWinds Attack Details Emerge
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  1/12/2021
Vulnerability Management Has a Data Problem
Tal Morgenstern, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Vulcan Cyber,  1/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-4873
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
IBM Planning Analytics 2.0 could allow an attacker to obtain sensitive information due to an overly permissive CORS policy. IBM X-Force ID: 190836.
CVE-2020-4881
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
IBM Planning Analytics 2.0 could allow a remote attacker to obtain sensitive information, caused by the lack of server hostname verification for SSL/TLS communication. By sending a specially-crafted request, an attacker could exploit this vulnerability to obtain sensitive information. IBM X-Force ID...
CVE-2021-22498
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
XML External Entity Injection vulnerability in Micro Focus Application Lifecycle Management (Previously known as Quality Center) product. The vulnerability affects versions 12.x, 12.60 Patch 5 and earlier, 15.0.1 Patch 2 and earlier and 15.5. The vulnerability could be exploited to allow an XML Exte...
CVE-2021-25323
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
The default setting of MISP 2.4.136 did not enable the requirements (aka require_password_confirmation) to provide the previous password when changing a password.
CVE-2021-25324
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-19
MISP 2.4.136 has Stored XSS in the galaxy cluster view via a cluster name to app/View/GalaxyClusters/view.ctp.