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Ransomware & Covid-19

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

If the past year has taught us anything it's that an effective virus can massively damage not only the quality of life of an individual but also their business. Coronavirus has changed our view of global pandemics and our future response to them, but while COVID-19 ravaged the world in front of us, another pandemic was on the rise in 2020 that had devastating effects on individuals and businesses alike.

While coronavirus was a malicious attack on the human body and subsequently an attack on our societal infrastructure, ransomware is a pandemic in its own right. With the increased adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, ransomware attacks have reached an all-time high in the past year. Cybercriminals usually deploy these ransomware attacks through “phishing” or emails masquerading as legitimate companies to acquire their target's personal information to take control of their computer network and lock them out. Cybercriminals will then hold that data for ransom demanding payment to relinquish control over the network, which is an agreement they may or may not uphold. The terrifying possibilities of such an attack compound with whatever the cybercriminal intends to do with said data.

The anatomy of an email-based ransomware attack can be found below:

These attacks have not only affected individuals but businesses of every size as well. Most recently, we saw the result of ransomware being applied to the Colonial Pipeline and its impact along the east coast of the United States. On top of that, JBS, the world’s largest meat processing company paid $11 million in ransom following a cyberattack. In 2020, overall ransom demands reached $1.4 billion. On average, rectifying each situation reached up to $1.45 million. Ransomware is the third most popular type of malware used in data breaches and is employed almost a quarter of the time. Other ransomware incidents involved hackers compromising COVID-19 research data, Canon photography, and even resulted in the death of a patient after cybercriminals targeted a hospital’s patient care systems for ransom.

Every day, world governments are at risk of the global weaponization of ransomware, further conveying the need for thorough and effective cybersecurity. The implications of such threats are staggering to anyone with sensitive data. The increasing frequency of these attacks serves as evidence that there are no immediate signs of cybercriminals slowing down. Fortunately, there are fundamental cybersecurity controls that can help significantly reduce the potential of being compromised by ransomware.

How can Rapid Strategy Help?

While the threats above are certainly intimidating, the good news is that a lot of these risks can be minimized and potentially mitigated by having a few fundamental and hygienic security controls and procedures in place. Below are just a few of the ways we can help you protect your organization and your sensitive data.

  • Email Security Gateway as a proactive measure against phishing.

  • Filter web & user traffic

  • Sandbox web downloads

  • Harden commonly used clients (MS Office, Browsers, Email Clients) against auto-run activities

  • Application whitelisting

  • Next-gen AV with memory scanning, runtime protections, and behavioral monitoring

Rapid Strategy aims to partner with you on your journey to provide fast and effective risk reduction strategies and controls to your environment. We can quickly assess the state of your current security controls and processes to provide you with a strategic solution and targeted risk-based controls. Contact us to accelerate your cybersecurity.

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