What the Severity in Ransomware Attacks Means for Business Owners
Many businesses are familiar with ransomware, a type of malicious software that restricts access to an infected machine by encrypting files and then demanding payment of a ransom in exchange for the key to decrypt the data. Beazley recently reported that ransomware attacks have grown increasingly complex. “Today’s cyber extortion events are much more likely to involve threat actors who exploit access into networks, install highly persistent malware, target backups, steal data, and threaten to expose the compromise,” says Beazley. “As the criminals become more sophisticated, it is more important than ever for organizations to adopt a layered approach to security, and take stringent measures to stop or minimize a ransomware attack or cyberextortion event at every stage.”
So, what can be done to protect business from ransomware attacks and cyberextortion attempts? In their Q3 2020 Breach Insights Report, Beazley provides the following prevention steps:
- Address risks starting with a cybersecurity risk assessment.
- Regularly train employees on how to avoid the threat of attacks.
- Effectively manage organizational user and system access including privileged access for critical network assets and multi-factor authentication (MFA) for remote access/VPNs and any externally facing applications.
- Secure remote access by using Remote Desktop Gateway (RDG) or secure RDP behind a multi-factor authentication-enabled virtual private network (VPN). Also, remember not to expose Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) directly to the Internet.
- Apply strict Sender Policy Framework (SPF) checks for all inbound email messages and filter all inbound messages for malicious content.
- Perform regular back-ups that are verified and stored safely offline.
- Remember to patch systems and applications.
In addition to proactive risk mitigation, cyber liability insurance is a risk transfer solution to help lessen the potential costs of a ransomware attack for your business. According to NFP, cyberextortion coverage covers costs associated with a cyberextortion event, including monies to meet the extortion demands. Ransomware coverage also covers the costs of hiring legal and computer security experts to investigate the attack, determine whether the ransom should be paid, and the payment itself, subject to conditions, the insurance term and the limits of liability. In addition, a business or organization has access to resources to help assess cybersecurity risk and provide best practices to prepare for attacks.
It is important for businesses to note that underwriters for cyber liability insurance policies are looking more and more at what the preventative measures the organization is doing to protect against cyberattacks, making approaches outlined above more important and increasingly necessary.