What will ransomware in 2020 look like? How can your enterprise defend against them? What can a next-generation endpoint security solution do for your business?
Your enterprise should feel nervous about the prospect of a ransomware attack. Indeed, with Cyber Monday approaching quickly, retailers with an online presence should fear any sign of a ransomware attack.
However, all signs indicate that ransomware in 2020 will prove an even more dangerous threat. According to the Bitdefender “Mid-Year Threat Landscape Report,” ransomware of all threats grew the most year-on-year (74.2 percent). Additionally, in terms of reports, ransomware ranked first.
Unfortunately, reports of ransomware’s decline prove greatly exaggerated. While it looked briefly like cryptojacking malware may supplant them, hackers tend to use ransomware more than any other malware. Even the breakup of major ransomware-as-a-service providers hasn’t affected its proliferation.
Why? What does ransomware offer that other malware species don’t? How can your enterprise deflect ransomware in 2020?
What Ransomware in 2020 Can Do?
First, we must establish how ransomware distinguishes itself from other malware species and branches. In fact, because ransomware as a group doesn’t change its tactics, this can serve as a critical refresher.
Ransomware follows a simple pattern. Ransomware infects an endpoint, server, or database and encrypts it. Then they extort the owner of the infected digital asset for payment in exchange for its safe return. Hackers may threaten to permanently delete the data if the ransom isn’t paid in a timely manner. Worse, ransomware may infect several assets at once, prompting a proportionally higher ransom.
Additionally, ransomware often works alongside privilege escalation. By taking advantage of readily available exploits to manipulate access privileges. By doing so, hackers can more easily install ransomware programs as well as remote access tools and disable security software.
Hackers use ransomware for a few reasons:
- Ransomware can take advantage of weak endpoint security, a widespread problem among enterprises.
- Unlike cryptocurrency, ransomware’s profitability doesn’t depend on cryptocurrency values.
- Ransomware takes advantage of human irrationality, fears, and stress, which can help guarantee a reliable payout.
What can your enterprise do to prevent the spread of ransomware in 2020?
1. Obtain Threat Intelligence (That Fits Your Use-Case)
Critically, ransomware in 2020 takes on three different forms. More specifically, ransomware is distributed in three different manners.
First, ransomware can take the form of cryptoworms, which replicate across as many endpoints as possible in the shortest timeline. Cryptoworms take advantage of both known and unknown vulnerabilities through automated processes—they are set loose in the wild so hackers can profit while barely lifting a finger.
Second, we face automated active adversary ransomware. Unlike cryptoworms, these attacks involve manual techniques—hackers actively search target enterprise for vulnerabilities. With this information in hand, they manually deploy the ransomware to the area of weakest protection.
Finally, you need to address ransomware-as-a-service. This dark parallel to managed security services allows even the most novice cybercriminals the tools to build automated campaigns. Hackers can buy third-party programs on the dark web, which holds their hand through the attack process.
Your enterprise needs to understand all of these forms of ransomware in order to protect itself against these threats. As such, you need to have the most up-to-date threat intelligence to identify and patch potential vulnerabilities. The faster and more accurately you can do this, the stronger your enterprise will be.
No one solution or ransomware attack fits all. Threat intelligence can help you sort through what threats you need to pay the most attention to…and how to stop them.
2. 24/7 Monitoring
It can only take an hour for a ransomware attack to create a script that copies and executes the attack on networked endpoints. This means that ransomware spreads quickly, and your enterprise needs to monitor your network to prepare for it.
Of course, this means your enterprise’s IT security team needs to monitor the network 24/7…a feat which can prove impossible. Thankfully, next-generation endpoint security solutions can monitor your network through endpoint detection and response (EDR). This can alert your team to dwelling threats or suspicious activity and freeze potentially malicious activity before a full investigation.
3. Get the Right Solution
Ransomware more than doubled this year. In fact, ransomware may yet grow again in 2020. So your enterprise should feel a sense of urgency concerning ransomware in 2020. Ransomware is becoming targeted, sophisticated, dangerous, and disruptive—more than ever before.
However, having strong endpoint security can help mitigate or prevent ransomware before it can fully execute. Next-generation antivirus capabilities, port control, application control, and other capabilities can detect malicious programming and ensure full controls over the enterprise network environment.
Additionally, your enterprise should consider having a backup and disaster recovery solution. Indeed, ransomware is part of the reason these solutions exist. You should make sure the solution matches your endpoint security solution to prevent integration issues. Also, you should have more than one backup and test out the restoration process to ensure it works!
How to Learn More About Ransomware in 2020
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