Is There a Ransomware Crisis? Experts Weigh in on How to Respond

Ransomware is a huge problem for big and small businesses alike.  We’ve seen ransomware that has forced small businesses to close.  It was also blamed for a death when a German hospital network was compromised by ransomware.  Have we reached the crisis point when it comes to ransomware?

Recently, a global task force has come together to find ways to fight ransomware.  Representatives from companies such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, McAfee, Rapid7, and Cisco teamed up with the Cyber Threat Alliance, the Global Cyber Alliance, US Department of Justice, Europol, the UK’s National Crime Agency, and insurance providers have teamed up to join the Institute for Security and Technology’s (IST) Ransomware Task Force.  The Ransomware Task Force has recently published a report “Combating Ransomware.” In it, the RTF listed 48 recommended actions that if implemented together would significantly reduce the ransomware threat.

One of the RTF’s top recommendations is a coordinated, law enforcement effort to prioritize ransomware through a strategy that includes the use of “a carrot-and-stick approach to direct nation-states away from providing safe havens to ransomware criminals.” Another recommendation was that governments create a cyber response and recovery fund to support ransomware response and other security efforts. It would also mandate that victims report ransom payments and require them to consider alternatives before paying ransom.

While this is a big step forward, there is a still a long way to go. To put these recommendations into place, there is going to need to be not just global cooperation among governments, but also among private cyber security firms and non-profits sharing information about ransomware.  It is going to take time for all these recommendations to come together, so what can you do in the meantime should you fall victim to ransomware?

To best protect yourself from ransomware, it is important to continue to invest in people and technology to help stop attacks. The basics of cyber awareness training, regular application of security updates and patches to systems, comprehensive backup policies and enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) will help thwart ransomware. If your network has already been compromised by ransomware, ensure you do a full investigation of your network post attack to make sure you’ve cleaned up the malware before you restore your systems from the backups. You should also ensure the backups have not also been infected prior to restoring. Whether you need help protecting your systems from ransomware, or need help investigating a ransomware attack on your systems, you can trust Uzado to help.

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