Intelligent CIO APAC Issue 32 | Page 35


For the past few years , the top cybersecurity threat faced by organizations around the world has been ransomware .

The potentially crippling attacks involve cybercriminals gaining access to a victim ’ s IT infrastructure , encrypting data and then demanding payment for the encryption keys . Triple extortion tactics where data is encrypted for ransom and attackers exfiltrate the data at the same time with the intention of leaking it or selling in the dark web while launching a DDoS attack have also gained ground . The result can be widespread disruption , financial losses , and a dire reputational fallout .
The most prevalent method used by cybercriminals to mount these attacks is phishing . Staff within an organization receive emails or text messages from what appear to be legitimate sources .
Just because defense measures have managed to catch up with attack techniques , this doesn ’ t mean the threat of ransomware has disappeared .
defense measures have managed to catch up with attack techniques , this doesn ’ t mean the threat of ransomware has disappeared .
Any complacency that occurs now could result in a fresh wave of attacks in the future . Far from sitting on their hands , cybercriminals are actively looking for new ways to circumvent security measures and get their malicious code into new infrastructures .
Yet when they interact with such a message , by clicking on an included link or opening an attachment , they inadvertently allow malicious code to enter their IT environment . The result is a ransomware attack .
Thankfully , a concerted education effort undertaken by many organizations has improved awareness of such threats among staff . The addition of sophisticated monitoring tools that scan networks for unusual traffic has added another layer of defense .
As a result , many organizations have been able to improve their ability to repel ransomware attacks . In some cases , those that fall victim are able to spot the intruder early and before damage and disruption occurs .
To counteract this trend , it ’ s vital organizations stay ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying and preventing attempted ransomware attacks .
The education campaigns that have worked well in the past need to continue . All staff need to be made aware of the evolving techniques being adopted by cybercriminals and shown how they can quickly identify suspicious communications .
The security detection tools in place also need to be regularly reviewed and augmented to ensure they are able to deal with new attack variants as they emerge . Just because they have worked in the past does not mean current tools will be able to deal with future threats .
This is welcome news for IT security teams , senior management and staff .
However , despite this apparent improvement , it is vital that businesses and public-sector organizations are not lulled into a false sense of security . Just because
The battle against ransomware will continue to be fought by IT security teams around the world for years to come . Being fully prepared now is vital . p
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