The Anatomy of a Ransomware Attack
A ransomware attack is one of the biggest threats to any company’s network infrastructure. These cyberattacks cause billions in losses by significantly impacting your reputation with customers, reducing employee productivity, and exposing an organization to unwanted litigation. Understanding how hackers utilize these attacks can help businesses reduce their exposure and avoid data breaches. Learn more about the anatomy of a ransomware attack and steps that protect your essential information.
A hacker aims to quickly access your operating systems and steal your vital data without being noticed. To accomplish this, many cybercriminals follow these six basic stages:
The campaign stage represents a cybercriminal’s method of delivering their ransomware attack. Hackers use various strategies to gain unauthorized access, but the most common and successful technique is suspicious email. Weaponized emails are designed to appear legitimate and trick an employee into providing an entry point by downloading malware. Recently, ransomware attacks have evolved from mass spamming every user to more targeted social engineering phishing attacks that are difficult to spot.
After accessing your network, the malware software begins launching new processes and infects your IT infrastructure. The affected user likely won’t notice any device performance issues, and the ransomware may lay dormant for long periods before starting an attack. This unawareness makes identification challenging and increases your overall vulnerability to a significant data breach.
Staging occurs after the ransomware software successfully infects your network environment and begins embedding itself by making difficult-to-spot changes that enable it to achieve persistence. This allows the malware to communicate directly with the command and control service and access the encryption key.
This is when the malware scans the infected host and finds files to encrypt. The software looks for file shares and essential data stored in the cloud-based environment and evaluates permission levels. Scanning is the most important stage in the anatomy of a ransomware attack because it determines what happens next.
The encryption stage starts after the ransomware software analyzes your IT environment. Any local files receive near-immediate encryption and are relocated to shared files on the network. Data is then copied locally, encrypted, and re-uploaded to replace the original document.
During remuneration, the hacker sends a ransom note to the user and specifies the payment amount and other critical details. Some cyber attackers attach a deadline and increase the amount if their demands aren’t met. There is no guarantee that files will be recovered if you pay the ransom.
Tips on How To Recover From a Ransomware Attack
The effects of a ransomware attack can be catastrophic, and acting quickly is critical to resuming operations and preventing long-term damage. Here are some tips on how to recover from a ransomware attack:
Don’t Pay the Ransom
Remember, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee that the problem goes away. You’re dealing with a criminal, and meeting their demands only proves that their process is working and encourages them to target other areas. Also, paying the ransom doesn’t remove the software and often means you’re paying double the cost to resolve the attack.
Report the Attack
Instead of paying the ransom, report the attack to the proper authorities so they can identify the attacker and prevent other companies from falling victim.
Conduct Post-Attack Tasks
Work with professionals to see if any data or files can be recovered. After determining recovery solutions, report the attack to regulatory firms and key stakeholders. You must alert customers and executives of the data breach so they can take the necessary steps to protect themselves.
Learn From Mistakes
After recovering files and ensuring your clients are aware of the attack, take steps to determine the cause of the data breach and develop best practices to prevent a future ransomware attack.
How To Prevent Ransomware Attacks
Experiencing a ransomware attack is stressful and impacts the long-term health of your business. This makes prevention the best defense against cybercriminals. Here are some helpful tips for avoiding a ransomware infection:
Backup Essential Data
While backing up essential data won’t prevent a ransomware attack, it will enable you to limit the damage of one. Keeping a comprehensive backup on an external drive or a cloud-based server allows you to quickly clean an infected computer and reinstall the safe backup files.
Keep Systems Updated
Relying on outdated systems increases your infrastructure’s vulnerability to a cyberattack. Regularly updating your security settings provides peace of mind knowing your network is equipped with the latest defenses.
Cybercriminals have developed their techniques to target your employees because they provide the easiest access to your environment. Training your staff to identify suspicious emails is essential to protecting your critical data.
Is Your Network Environment Protected From a Ransomware Attack?
SBT Partners offers cybersecurity solutions that protect endpoints and end users from hackers. Contact us today for a consultation.
Prevent Ransomware Attacks With SBT Partners
Protecting your network environment from a ransomware attack is an around-the-clock job that requires expert knowledge of the latest techniques. SBT Partners understands the importance of protecting critical files and offers comprehensive cyber-security as a service solutions that modernize and safeguard your infrastructure. The strategies used by hackers are evolving, and our team meets growing challenges by providing the following services:
Are the unrecognized weak spots in your network? Spotting these vulnerable areas allows you to address them before hackers can attack them. Our vulnerability testing solutions expose risks and offer a concrete plan for identifying issues by simulating attacks and analyzing responses.
Security Awareness Training
Your employees are the first line of defense against an attack, and making sure they’re educated on the latest techniques is an essential part of any cyber security program. Our security awareness training program provides your team with the tools they need to identify phishing links and protect your infrastructure.