As of 2021, there has been a whopping 485% increase in the number of global ransomware reports-the highest increase to date. In addition to this, attacks have also become most financially devastating, with ransom amounts sometimes going up to $50 million.
The reason for this increase in ransomware attacks can be attributed to the fact that more enterprises are allowing their employees to work from home, as well as hackers finding it easier to exploit individuals through misinformation and fear.
Hackers are more likely to attack the healthcare and education sectors as they prove to be easier targets. All these statistics and observations ask questions about the measures that enterprises and establishments are taking to prevent or even recover from ransomware attacks.
Ransomware Protection – The Efficacy of Backups Against Ransomware Attacks
Of the many defenses that cybersecurity teams use to protect against attacks, creating data backups is still one of the more convenient and less energy-intensive defenses. In fact, by using data backups, ransom payments to the bad actors had dropped to around 34% as of the third quarter in 2020. This is because companies were able to retain a majority of the data they had lost simply by restoring backups.
To further support the claim that backups are one of the best defenses, consider the Cyberthreat Defense report and its stance on recovery through backups. According to this report, 56% of organizations were able to recover their data through backups after a ransomware attack while 26% resorted to paying a ransom. In fact, according to another report, around 42% of the organizations that chose to pay the ransom did not receive their files again. Meaning that without a proper anti-malware strategy, organizations have no way of retrieving lost data.
How does a Backup Restore Data?
A typical ransomware attack involves a series of steps. It begins with the actual infection of the virus through a particular pathway. For example, phishing emails and other forms that will download the malware onto the computer once clicked on. After doing so, it takes control over the device and spreads the malware to every other device it is connected to. This spread is extremely potent if the devices are connected to a network.
Finally, it will begin to encrypt all the files that every infected device possesses, meaning that no individual can access these files unless they buy the encryption fee from the cybercriminals. In fact, the chances of getting back one’s data are still low.
This is the juncture at which an organization with a solid backup strategy will thrive. This is because the organizations can retrieve the files which are present in safe backups without losing a significant amount of data. Thus, having backups significantly mitigates the effect of an attack as well as the subsequent data loss.
Ransomware – The 4 Safe Practices To Backing Up Data
In order for this defense to be effective, organizations need to implement certain data backup strategies and practices. These include:
A great way to ensure that one’s data is preserved is to have several local backups. This includes both on-site or off-site devices. In fact, many experts term this process of having several backups as the 3-2-1 data backup strategy. According to this strategy, there should be three copies of all the essential data an organization requires. Two of these copies are local while one is off-site.
By having so many copies, an organization is able to isolate the attack only to devices without losing any data. The local backups make it possible to restore the data more quickly in comparison to that of the off-site backups. However, the former are more susceptible to becoming infected as well in rare cases.
There should be a system or procedure that an organization implements which can upload data frequently. If the data backing up is taking place frequently, victims of ransomware attacks are less likely to lose a significant amount of data. This is because data is usually restored from a backup that takes place just before the attack.
The best type of backup system will involve the one that can restore the data just before an infection takes place. However, this may not always take place in this way. At present, the current backup systems are susceptible to back up even the encrypted data as a result of the ransomware. Meaning even the backups themselves are not accessible anymore.
For this reason, it will prove beneficial to use a system that possesses several recovery points and stores data in the read-only form. This means that the malware is not able to make any changes to the already backed up data.
For organizations that are looking to protect their backup servers, anti-malware applications are the perfect option. These applications make it possible for an organization to determine when a ransomware attack takes place and look to create a strategy to eradicate it.
Organizations and individuals alike may never be able to completely evade the threat of ransomware attacks just because of the sheer number of ways that hackers are carrying out their attacks. However, by following these safe practices and other strategies involving data governance, an enterprise can drastically reduce the otherwise devastating effects of ransomware attacks.