Ransomware on the Rise in 2022 – What Businesses Should Know

Ransomware on the Rise in 2022 – What Businesses Should Know

Ransomware does not get recognized as a severe threat by most businesses. But it might be a good idea to reconsider that. Ransomware has been on the rise for the past decade, and there are increasing chances that it will be an issue. To bring things more into perspective, we’ll take you through global ransomware statistics and the risks of ransomware in this blog post. We have also talked about what businesses can do against malware attacks like ransomware in the years to come.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of software that infects systems and encrypts files before threatening to remove them unless a ransom gets paid. The hack might also make the data public, revealing the company’s internal workings and intellectual property. We’ve witnessed a frightening trend of threat actors targeting commonplace services like gas stations, hospitals, and even K-12 schools. Employees aware of the attack’s dangers are eight times less likely to be victims. That is why preventing ransomware attacks through education and training is a highly successful strategy.

Ransomware gets frequently intended to propagate over a network and targets database and file servers, crippling entire businesses. Institutes and governing bodies haven’t found a way to deal with this ever-growing problem and face severe financial losses.

Why does ransomware continue being a threat in 2022?

Ransomware is one of the rapidly rising threats to cybersecurity. In 2021, specialists at Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that one assault will occur every 11 seconds. According to antivirus software manufacturer Emsisoft, the estimate for ransomware hacking charges in 2019 was $7.5 billion. It shows that ransomware attacks will continue growing exponentially in 2022. Ransomware techniques did not necessarily become more complex, per se, but they have become more frequent.

Cybercriminals continue to exploit weak areas of an organization. They launch ransomware attacks, gain access to sensitive data and disrupt operations. They put lives at risk, using conventional — even basic — approaches like phishing or remote desktop protocol (RDP). Government organizations and healthcare remain the two topmost targeted industries.

What ransomware techniques do hackers commonly use?

RDP and phishing are two of the most common first ransomware attack channels, and the method of using them hasn’t altered much over time. RDP attacks are easy to carry out as the target is unaware of any security lapses. RDP is designed to allow authorized users to connect to and operate a system remotely. Such as when IT support wants to access an employee computer remotely to diagnose a problem or do routine maintenance. Unauthorized users may frequently get control of RDP by leaving it open on an outdated system that is unused. Hackers may also gain control of a system whose RDP interface gets linked directly to the internet with no security measures in place.

Phishing assaults are more intricate since they rely on human interaction and focus on easy targets. People who get caught off-guard because they weren’t paying attention or unwittingly ensnared in a well-crafted attack. Hackers heavily rely on human error in this technique. Phishing attacks usually involve impersonating someone else and using that information to access a protected network. The data gets sourced from online forums and social media. They might even fool individuals by scamming them into handing out their personal information. It’s the same fundamental ruse as the age-old fraudulent email scam, which involves duping unsuspecting people into divulging sensitive information in exchange for a large bag of cash. The bag of cash that never existed in the first place.

Why do businesses keep getting targeted?

Most organizations can be dissuaded by the prevalence of ransomware attacks, thinking that it is inevitable. They do not implement industry-standard failsafes. Businesses must ensure that their security strategy is built from the ground up to protect themselves against these assaults. They should lay a foundation that tackles the weak points for data exfiltration, corruption, or destruction. Because if there were any defenses, the hackers would have just gone elsewhere.

Cyber threats can originate from anywhere and can spread like wildfire without mercy. Businesses operate on a tight budget and function at a loss during their first year. So, implementing a cybersecurity strategy doesn’t become a part of the budget. Businesses must prepare themselves since ransomware remains a cybersecurity threat.

Here are some precautions that businesses may take to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

What precautions can businesses take against ransomware?

Encrypt data

Consumer protection laws, privacy laws, and increased punishment for hackers over the last few years are the silver lining for many businesses. These factors might be enough to motivate them to safeguard trade secrets. Data encryption is another way a business can protect its data from hackers as it can restrict data access. Passwords, username-level authorizations, and group policies on a network can limit unauthorized individuals. This added layer of protection can prevent malware, ransomware, spam, denial of service attacks, and data breaches.

Firewalls, antivirus software, and cybersecurity suites have become beneficial in protecting against ransomware threats. Encrypting the most crucial data can be a lifesaver. If the threat actors gain access to the system, your files will be safely encrypted.

Frequently backup your data

Most hackers delete the files if their demands do not get met. Frequent data backups can be crucial as businesses still have access to their backup. The easiest approach to avoid getting locked out of your information is to keep backup copies of them on hand, preferably in the cloud and on an external hard drive. If you become infected with ransomware, you may wipe your computer or device clean and restore your contents from backup. It safeguards your data, and you do not get tempted to pay a ransom to the virus creators. Data backups do not stop ransomware from infecting your computer, but they can help you lessen the hazards.

Make sure your backups are safe. Make sure your backup data isn’t accessible from the systems where it gets stored for alteration or deletion. Ransomware actors hunt for data backups. They encrypt or delete them, making them irrecoverable.

Test internal weaknesses

Organizations must look within to guard against ransomware attacks, examine their current security policy, and ensure there are no loopholes present. And by loopholes, we mean any system vulnerabilities that might get overlooked. Penetration testing, a way to limit system vulnerabilities can prove handy as they look to prevent attacks by testing how hackers operate and exploit those vulnerabilities.

Thus prevention, detection, and reaction capabilities are crucial parts of an internal data protection strategy that all businesses should develop and execute.

It becomes critical to have multi-factor authentication as a minimum on any external-facing RDP and ideally to remove external-facing RDP entirely.

Beyond basic cybersecurity strategies, such as assessing current IT infrastructures for vulnerabilities, applying essential updates, and routinely performing backup becomes necessary. With today’s security landscape, continuous education for staff on how to recognize phishing assaults is also a crucial, fundamental strategy.

Use remote monitoring apps

To protect their data, several businesses have begun to use remote monitoring apps. They want to keep their trade secrets protected and make efficient use of business resources. These applications (sometimes referred to as cell phone monitoring apps for Android smartphones and iPhones) offer several monitoring and surveillance options. Only a handful of the tools provided include geolocation tracking, phone recording and monitoring, keylogging, email tracking, social networking app monitoring, and SMS and IM conversations tracking.

You can utilize a remote monitoring app’s email reader to analyze emails that contain suspicious links leading to a malware attack. It can help a business by protecting itself from the spread of such email chains.

XNSPY which is one of the famous apps for hacking Android devices and iPhones can prevent ransomware attacks from originating by helping employees look for phishing scams. Since phishing is one of the most common social engineering tactics used in a ransomware attack, it is a good strategy to remove the human element from it. And XNSPY does just that. The app protects against viral scams that most often occur in WhatsApp chat groups from unknown numbers and through strangers on social media. Since most instant messaging apps are encrypted, monitoring communication gets tricky. But XNSPY’s stealth functionality and instant messaging surveillance can help monitor instant messaging communications with ease.

Most social media groups do not have any actionable rules that prevent the spread of fake news and messages. Employees are constantly at the risk of spreading miscommunication in the office space. If such messages hijack the office network, it can lead to systemic malfunction. The app prevents this from occurring by monitoring phones discreetly.

So by combining all these security guidelines, you can prevent your business from falling victim to ransomware in 2022 and beyond.