Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity has recommended six best practices to be followed vigorously in order to defend against ransomware and related cyberattacks in 2021.
The recommendation came following ‘The State of Ramsomeware 2021’ global survey, which shows that the average total cost of recovery from a ransomware attack has more than doubled in a year, increasing from $761,106 in 2020 to $1.85 million in 2021.
Here are the six best practices:
- Assume you will be hit. Ransomware remains highly prevalent. No sector, country or organization size is immune from the risk. It’s better to be prepared, but not hit, rather than the other way round.
- Make backups and keep a copy offline. Backups are the main method organizations surveyed used to recover their data after an attack. Opt for the industry-standard approach of 3:2:1 (three sets of backups, using two different media, one of which is kept offline)
- Deploy layered protection. As more ransomware attacks also involve extortion, it is more important than ever to keep adversaries out in the first place. Use layered protection to block attackers at as many points as possible across an estate
- Combine human experts and anti-ransomware technology. The key to stopping ransomware is defense in depth that combines dedicated anti-ransomware technology and human-led threat hunting. Technology provides the scale and automation an organization needs, while human experts are best able to detect the tell-tale tactics, techniques and procedures that indicate an attacker is attempting to get into the environment. If you don’t have the skills in house, look at enlisting the support of a specialist cybersecurity company – Security Operation Centers (SOCs) are now realistic options for organizations of all sizes
- Don’t pay the ransom. Easy to say, but far less easy to do when an organization has ground to a halt due to a ransomware attack. Independent of any ethical considerations, paying the ransom is an ineffective way to get data back. If you do decide to pay, bear in mind that the adversaries will restore, on average, only two-thirds of your files
- Have a malware recovery plan. The best way to stop a cyberattack from turning into a full breach is to prepare in advance. Organizations that fall victim to an attack often realize they could have avoided significant financial loss and disruption if they had an incident response plan in place
The State of Ransomware 2021 survey interviewed 5,400 IT decision-makers in 30 countries, in the US, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Austria, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. All respondents were from organizations with between 100 and 5,000 employees.