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The Rise of Ransomware: Cybersecurity Trends 2022

Ransomware has been a hot topic since 2017, with several organizations, such as hospitals and schools, having their data locked until they pay the extortion payments. According to IBM Security’s X-Force research team, the ransomware epidemic has swept the globe, with over 4,000 cyber-attacks occurring daily.

Ransomware is quickly rising with cybercriminals. According to security firm Trend Micro, ransomware attacks increased by 752 % in 2016 and will skyrocket in 2022. In addition, Gartner, another well-known security research firm, forecasted between 2 million and 3 million successful ransomware attacks in 2021, with the frequency rising year after year. What’s more troubling is that spear phishing is the most common attack against conventional cyber defenses, as the human factor unintentionally assists attackers in getting access to your network or devices. According to a recent study conducted by cybersecurity researchers, 93% of all phishing emails featured ransomware encryption attacks.

Ransomware has developed into a colloquial term for spear phishing. Folks, your employees are your cybersecurity chain’s weakest link to cyberattacks. Our best defense against ransomware and computer crimes is the education of our staff to reduce the risk of data breaches.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that somehow restricts access to the infected computer system and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware creator to remove the restriction. Ransomware attacks come in various forms, but all use a denial-of-service attack to crash a system or encrypt data and demand a ransom for the decryption key.

Cyber attacks are profitable for hackers, with ransomware income estimated to be in the billions of dollars. The cybercrime epidemic has struck hospitals, individuals, law enforcement agencies, schools, and small businesses, with ransomware even used as a form of extortion. Small business owners have contemplated paying hackers’ demands due to the lack of ransomware cybersecurity measures and security policies that include cyber threat demands of as little as $500.

Cyberattacks such as ransomware are also becoming more sophisticated, making it hard to catch the perpetrators. The use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin makes it easier for criminals to reap their rewards without a trace of the crime. The growth of credit and debit card data on the dark web has also contributed to this paradigm shift. A credit or debit card number isn’t worth what it used to be. 93% of all phishing emails contained encryption ransomware attacks over credit card fraud.

A study by IBM Security stated that 70% of corporate victims paid black market ransomware criminals to get their data back in 2021. Rather than stealing data and looking for a buyer of credit card information to get quick money, criminals are turning to ransomware attacks since they produce an eager and ready customer, like the business owner. Cybercriminals use these tactics because they are successful. These types of cyberattack success rates, along with the high likelihood of a ransom payment via ransomware, suggest that hackers can make a quick buck from attacks. However, protections are in place to protect your firm from being phished and held hostage by ransomware. According to cybersecurity researchers, one in every five individuals who spent more than $40,000 to retrieve their data did so to get their data back.

IT security professionals may follow a few best practices to secure their organizations from ransomware threats. They should keep vulnerability patches up to date and regularly backup their data to restart operations more swiftly in the event of a cyberattack. On the other hand, these best practices do not dissuade the real culprit. The majority of attacks begin with a well-placed spear-phishing email. It only takes one malicious email or an erroneous click to seize control of your firm.

Create an outline for Ransomware Prevention Methods.

Ransomware prevention methods include cybersecurity best practices such as maintaining current backups of data, ensuring that data security protection software is always up-to-date and working correctly, and ensuring that all security patches are promptly applied.

Below, we outline ransomware cybersecurity best practices:

  • Maintain current backup: ransomware can strike without warning, protection software updates are critical to security defense, and backups are the only prevention method that works if your computer system is infected.
  • Ensure software is up-to-date and working correctly: software designed to identify ransomware attacks before data or systems are encrypted and stop attacks and strains. If the software is outdated or no longer working, the best practice recommendation is to upgrade your security software immediately to the newest version.
  • Ensure all security patches are promptly applied: cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in systems and networks, such as unpatched protection software.
  • Cybersecurity best practices for small businesses: small businesses need ransomware cybersecurity plans to protect their data.
  • Ransomware cybersecurity for small businesses: security protection software with policies and practices and cybersecurity awareness training are essential keys to cybersecurity defense.

Ransomware attacks have quadrupled since 2015, with 4,000 ransomware attacks occurring daily. Ransomware cybercriminals earn over a billion dollars a year in ransomware revenue. Ransomware attack methodologies include encryption processes, ransomware cybercriminals' infection vectors, and ransomware decryption tricks.

The primary ways ransomware affects your computer system are through phishing emails and infected USB or hard drives attached to your system.

What ransomware protection measures can you implement within your organization?

Two ransomware protection methods include 1) ransomware training and 2) ransomware prevention software. Train employees to be vigilant about phishing emails and incoming social media messages, as well as how ransomware attacks networks. Prevent ransomware infections by installing prevention software on your organization’s computer systems, servers, and mobile devices.

Here are three categories of ransomware incidents.

There are three ransomware categories:

1. File-encrypting ransomware encrypts and locks files found on hard drives and in shared network folders.

2. Locker ransomware presents users with a message claiming to be from a law enforcement agency and demands payment before the user can access any files.

3. Cryptoware ransomware denies users access to the device or data unless they pay the ransom.

What is ransomware’s impact on organizations?

Ransomware attacks can cripple an organization. Over time, ransomware attacks may lead to legal issues, financial loss, and customer reputation issues for your business. Additionally, ransomware attacks can erode consumer trust.

What is ransomware training?

Ransomware training teaches employees how cyber attacks work and what to do if and when an attack hits an organization’s computer system or devices. Train employees to be vigilant about ransomware, phishing emails, and incoming social media messages. Ransomware protection software is the only ransomware defense proven effective in blocking ransomware cyberattacks. Ensure your protection software is up-to-date and is ransomware cybersecurity best practice compliant.

1. File-encrypting ransomware encrypts and locks files found on hard drives and in shared network folders.

2. Locker ransomware presents users with a message claiming to be from a law enforcement agency and demands payment before the user can access any files.

3. Cryptoware ransomware denies users access to the device or data unless they pay the ransom.

An organization can have the best hardware and software tools available to defend against cyberattacks on its information systems. However, it only takes one email fraud campaign to bring an organization to a halt. Cybersecurity awareness policies and procedures are critical for the corporate sector to reduce cyber attacks.