Ransomware Detection is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

No one is a stranger to the notion of security. We protect our homes and physical assets with locks and cameras and are vigilant when we encounter abnormal behavior. But for some reason, the data entrusted to us is not always given the same type of protection. Your data has become a prime target for cybercriminals which is manifested in the form of ransomware attacks. Attacks which are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Your data cannot be secured simply by restricting access. The whole point is to make data usable and available for people who need to use it, contribute to it, and manage it. The key to protecting content from ransomware is to understand how it infiltrates files. To be effective, all attackers need is access to files, and this can be achieved through rudimentary tactics. But with purposeful, automated analysis and alerting, ransomware attempts can be quickly detected, shut down, and remediated.


Ransomware and the damage done

Ransomware can be spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments. Attackers can also use social engineering to gain access to account credentials, and from there, it is easy to plant ransomware anywhere that account has access. The most common form of ransomware is crypto ransomware, which is a malware variant that encrypts files. Once your files are encrypted, a ransom message will appear onscreen demanding payment, typically in the form of Bitcoin or another untraceable cryptocurrency.

The reality is that attackers often successfully extort their victims. And these financial successes have led to a rise of ransomware attacks and variants. In 2013, destructive and lucrative ransomware variants were introduced, including Xorist, CryptorBit, and CryptoLocker. Some variants encrypt not just the files on the infected device, but also the contents of shared or networked drives.

In early 2016, a destructive ransomware variant, Locky, was observed infecting computers belonging to healthcare facilities and hospitals in the United States, New Zealand, and Germany. It propagates through spam emails that include malicious Microsoft Office documents or compressed attachments (e.g., .rar, .zip). Once opened, the malicious attachments run macros or JavaScript files and download and install the Ransomware.

What can you do to protect your data?

Most companies house hundreds of thousands, even millions, of files. Imagine all of them locked and potentially gone forever. These types of attacks routinely cripple businesses and often result in huge financial losses.

Our solutions have taken this into account, by enabling customers to simply roll back their environment to a pre-attack state and restore files to the last unaffected version. But if ransomware is not contained and mitigated successfully, encryption of files can happen again. That is why we’ve made it easier to discover and contain ransomware so it can be eradicated from your system before you go through the process of data restoration.

Most endpoint and Windows systems with anti-malware work on signature-based solutions. Signature matches are based on previously known threats: if the hash matches the same signature, there is malware present. This also means someone else reported it, thus a signature was created. What happens when there is not a signature match? Administrators cannot stop a threat they cannot see.

In addition to a signature-based approach to detect known malware, it is crucial to utilize behavior-based detection to stop previously unseen ransomware, or zero-day attacks. Behavior-based detection uses AI to detect suspicious actions in near-real time. Analyzing file operation behaviors, such as file encryption, mass deletion, and mass renaming can provide evidence of a ransomware attack in process.

Your data is an invaluable resource, and even with strong security practices in place, ransomware is a top threat. Zero-day protection should be high on the priority list of any small business owner or admin. Does your company have anything in place to detect ransomware? If not, contact us today by clicking here or reaching out at 816-222-1100.

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