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As the digital landscape expands, so do the challenges of cybersecurity. A leading concern in today’s tech world is the growing menace of ransomware, a form of malware that can negatively impact organizations of all sizes and industries. 

What is Ransomware? 

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infiltrates systems, encrypts and exfiltrates valuable data, and holds it hostage until the hackers get what they want, oftentimes a financial payment. The outcome for many organizations that are not prepared can range from severe financial damage due to the downtime they experience while getting their systems restored to the devastating loss of critical data and reputational fallout due to the potential negative press coverage and unhappy clients. 

The recent escalation in ransomware attacks worldwide, from crippling health care and education systems to paralyzing entire city infrastructures, shows that no organization or entity is immune from the complex ransomware tactics used by today’s hackers. In addition to ransomware attacks being on the rise, recovery proves far more challenging for most organizations. Even those that pay a ransom only recover an average of 65% of their data, and hackers will often leak sensitive information unless a second ransom is paid. This is why having a ransomware containment solution in place will help an organization if, or more likely, when it is under an attack from hackers.

There are various types of ransomware, each with its unique features. These types of ransomware include, but are not limited to Crypto ransomware that encrypts & exfiltrates valuable files & data, Locker ransomware that infiltrates & infects devices, in turn, locking the user out of their device, Exfiltration/Doxware that threatens to leak confidential information & DDoS Ransomware that attacks your target network services, not your data. The potential damages caused by these attacks can range from temporary disruption of services to total loss of control over sensitive data and infrastructure.

Is Ransomware Prevention Possible?

Many organizations are not aware that no combination of security tools is able to prevent all ransomware. The reason why complete ransomware prevention is not possible is because attackers are perpetually refining their techniques and employing advanced tactics like spear phishing, SQL injection attacks, exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities, cross-site scripting, denial of service attacks and even leveraging AI to breach the defenses of organizations. Preventative solutions will never outpace the motivated hacker. Since total ransomware prevention is not possible, many organizations are turning to tools and software that are designed to contain and mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks.

How Ransomware Protection and Containment Can Help Mitigate the Impact of Ransomware 

Ransomware protection refers to the defensive measures taken to guard against a ransomware attack. This includes robust firewalls, anti-malware software, secure network configurations, and stringent access controls. On the other hand, ransomware containment is a proactive approach designed to limit the spread of an attack when it happens. Effective ransomware containment solutions can stop a ransomware attack in its tracks, preventing the encryption and exfiltration of valuable data and reducing the potential damage to the organization.

While protection measures aim to prevent an attack, ransomware containment strategies ensure that if an attack does occur, its impact is minimized. By implementing ransomware containment solutions, businesses can ensure they are not just waiting for the next attack but actively preparing to limit its impact.

How to Implement Ransomware Protection Measures

URL Filtering: When an organization decides to set up URL filtering and web proxy solutions, they are working to keep employees from being able to go to certain URLs that are known for being potentially compromised. This type of preventative measure is helpful to keep employees from accidentally landing somewhere they shouldn’t that would potentially lead to a malware attack on your systems.

Software and System Updates: Keep all systems and software up-to-date. Outdated software often has vulnerabilities that developers have patched in updates, meaning that hackers can exploit those vulnerabilities to gain access to your data if your system and software is not regularly updated.

Malware Scanning Solutions: If your organization has a malware scanning solution in place, it will work to increase the visibility of malware attacks across your networks, systems and endpoints. A successful malware scanning solution is often run by signature-based detection, heuristics and machine learning.These scanning solutions can be run on-demand or scheduled as often as an organization would like.

Staff Education: Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Regular staff training on recognizing and avoiding phishing emails, suspicious websites, and other common ransomware entry points can significantly reduce the risk of an employee falling victim to a ransomware attack.

Incident Response Plan: Establish a detailed response plan for potential attacks. This includes identifying key personnel, outlining communication protocols, and setting guidelines for restoring systems.

Web Application Firewall (WAF): A Web Application Firewall (WAF) helps to protect an organization from many different application layer attacks like SQL injections, cookie poisoning and cross-site scripting. This preventative measure will constantly monitor your outward-facing websites and applications, which allows it to identify, log and remediate a wide variety of different types of attacks.

Robust Backup Solutions: Regularly backing up data is your first line of defense against experiencing the negative impact of ransomware. Ensure that backups are stored offsite or in a cloud storage system with high-level security features. This will allow your organization to get back to normal operations quicker after a ransomware attack has been contained.

Ransomware Containment Solution: Implementing an advanced ransomware containment solution that can contain a ransomware attack in real-time offers businesses the best chance of mitigating the impact of ransomware once it has bypassed your preventative measures. Not only can ransomware containment help to prevent the widespread encryption and exfiltration of data, it can also give businesses the time needed to respond effectively.

Learn More

BullWall offers a ransomware assessment pentest to help you assess how your current tools respond to various ransomware variants. Or you can schedule a demo.


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