After a lull in 2018, ransomware has risen once again to the top of the threat list for businesses both large and small. In 2019, local governments, hospitals, and schools all faced ransomware attacks that locked up important data and disabled critical systems for days. The holidays might be here, but no one wants to unwrap a surprise cyber attack.
Ransomware is one of the greatest security concerns ever to exist, it can strike at any time — even on the most seemingly resilient of systems. All it takes is one wayward click combined with inadequate security controls to lock down your network and potentially lose critical business information.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, a new organization will fall victim to ransomware every 14 seconds in 2019, and every 11 seconds by 2021.
Why is this cyber threat on the rise? Simply put, ransomware remains an ever-growing problem because it is an extremely lucrative criminal enterprise. Targeted organizations often believe that paying the ransom is the most cost-effective way to get their data back — and, unfortunately, this may also be the reality. The problem is that every single business that pays to recover their files is directly funding the development of its next generation. As a result, it is evolving at an alarming rate with new and more sophisticated variants. This makes defending your organization’s data more critical than ever.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts ransomware attacks will cost the global economy $6 trillion annually by 2021.
Ransomware has also become more pervasive, in part, thanks to the following:
- Ongoing digital transformation: As more organizations digitize their operations, the number of potential entry points (email, mobile devices, apps) increases exponentially. If a breach happens, infections can spread quickly since it’s more than likely these critical systems are connected.
- The rise of cryptocurrency: Currency, like Bitcoin, enables easy and virtually untraceable payments to anonymous cybercriminals.
- The emergence of Ransomware-as-a-Service (Raas): Ransomware kits can be purchased for a small fee, making it accessible for practically anyone, even non-technical criminals, to use and profit from easily.
Plus, attackers are getting smarter. They know we’re distracted. And where are we more likely to be the most distracted? On our phones! In the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon found that users are much more vulnerable to social attacks that they receive on mobile devices.
But where do you start? Lots of questions come to mind. With the ability to penetrate organizations in multiple ways, fighting this threat effectively requires more than one product. Cisco Ransomware Defense offers an integrated approach that provides protection from these cyber attacks for all office locations and users, even when users are off the virtual private network (VPN). Backed by unmatched threat intelligence from Cisco Talos, Cisco’s unified security architecture brings together complementary cyber security products including domain name system (DNS)-layer, web, email, endpoint, and network security.
Cisco Cloud Email Security with Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) blocks ransomware delivered through spam and phishing emails. It even identifies malicious attachments and URLs. Email is still the application that cyber attackers use most commonly to breach systems.
Ransomware attacks use DNS to connect to attacker servers and compromise your network. Cisco Umbrella with DNS and IP layer enforcement stops ransomware over all ports and protocols. You can stay protected with Umbrella whether you are on or off the network.
Cisco Advanced Malware Protection for Endpoints stops ransomware files from taking your system hostage. While you can’t completely prevent risky cyber behavior, you can enhance the security of your endpoints and servers.
Want results like these?
“Before Umbrella, I was attacked seven times by ransomware. Since the installation, I have not had one [attack].”
Kevin Hood, IT Director, Habush Habush & Rottier
Need guidance? Check out our updated Ransomware Defense For Dummies eBook – freshly revised with the latest trends and techniques for stopping ransomware attacks as you enter 2020 and beyond. In five short chapters, you’ll learn how this cyber crime operates, best practices for reducing risk, and practical steps you can take to deploy a new best-of-breed security architecture.