The recent high-profile ransomware attacks, like the attack on Colonial Pipeline, sparked a nationwide discussion of whether or not to pay ransomware. There are certainly valid aguments on both sides. Some experts have argued companies should refuse to pay ransoms because doing so only encourages cybercriminals and puts a target on your back or the hackers may return data riddled with malware, but rarely is the decision to pay ransom black and white.

To pay or not to pay is a sucker’s choice – you are already caught between a rock and a hard place. The real decision is made much earlier. The discussion should not be whether or not to pay ransomware, instead business should implement a good security program/framework/controls or don’t implement a security program/framework/controls and suffer the consequences of loss.

Bottom line, businesses should not even get to the point where they need to consider paying ransomware.

Damage limitation

Attackers have built a profitable illicit business model driven by financial gain which means no one is safe if there is money to be made. Ransomware is not going anywhere and will only continue to grow in size, sophistication, and severity. Good digital security practices help prevent attacks that can affect access to critical services for millions of people.

Organizations of all sizes can thwart ransomware attacks through training, policies, and a comprehensive security program. Good digital security, specifically not reusing passwords, disabling inactive accounts, and leveraging multifactor authentication, would have helped prevent the Colonial attack.

According to Kevin Mandia, FireEye CEO, companies should focus on two key elements of defense against the ransomware threat. The first is to “limit the blast radius,” or the impact of a hack, by carefully segmenting computer systems and using other tactics to minimize the number of machines and amount of data hackers can lock down in a breach. The second is to ensure critical systems are backed up, that those backups are kept secure and that recovery plans are regularly tested.

Absent organizational action to employ good digital security and a comprehensive approach to address ransomware, we are facing a future where ransomware will continue to escalate. This escalation has the potential to not just spike gas prices and slow access to your favorite deli meat but impair small businesses, lead to the crippling of critical support services and operations like health care and electricity, and potentially even harm to or loss of human life.

Solutions limiting ransomware damage

Which solutions should you have in place to limit ransomware damage? Check out 5 Steps to Better Security

Contact ACE IT Solutions at 646.558.6358 to schedule a complimentary cybersecurity assessment. We will assess your systems to discover gaps in your cybersecurity program, to ensure you can prevent and recover quickly from disruptions — including ransomware.

 

 

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