How to Ensure Compliance with Ransomware Risk

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As the Business models of today evolve, so does the need for an organization to remain compliant with new regulations and risks. One such risk is ransomware, which can have devastating financial consequences on organizations or personal data that isn’t backed up. In order to reduce the risk of a ransomware attack, it is important for organizations of all sizes to understand the threats and put measures in place to protect against them. This blog post will outline how professional clients within financial services should ensure compliance with Ransomware risk by identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure as well as establishing rigorous data backup strategies and processes.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts data on a computer or network, making it inaccessible until the “ransom” usually in the form of cryptocurrency is paid to the attacker. It can be spread through email attachments, downloads from infected websites, or even drive-by downloads from malicious ads. Ransomware attacks can cost an organization thousands of dollars in lost revenue, recovery costs, and reputational damage. Businesses that refuse to pay the hacker’s high cash demands frequently run the risk of having their private information leaked online.

When a user is deceived into clicking on a malicious link that downloads an infected file from an external website, ransomware often follows a similar pattern of delivery. Unknowingly, the user runs the ransomware file, which uses network flaws to silently spread throughout the system. All files are encrypted by the ransomware, which then demands payment via network devices in exchange for the decryption key.

Unless you choose to agree to the attacker’s demand for payment, you probably won’t be able to recover the data unless you have a backup of it. also, There is no guarantee that the attacker will give you the key to unlock the files, even if you choose to pay the ransom.

Who Is At Risk?

Any organization that stores confidential or sensitive data is susceptible to attack from ransomware. Small businesses and companies with large IT infrastructures are particularly vulnerable as they often lack the resources, expertise, and finances needed to combat these threats efficiently. Financial services firms are particularly at risk because of their access to customer information and financial transactions. Professional clients within the financial services industry should be aware that they must remain compliant with applicable regulations and maintain a strong security posture to protect against ransomware attacks.

Any internet-connected device is vulnerable to becoming the next ransomware victim. vulnerable device exposes the local network to risk since ransomware examines both local devices and any network-connected storage. If the local network belongs to a company, the ransomware may encrypt crucial system data and documents, disrupting operations and decreasing productivity.

The most recent software security updates should be installed on any device that has an internet connection, and ransomware-detecting anti-malware software should also be installed. The risk is substantially larger for outdated, unmaintained operating systems like Windows XP.

Impact of Ransomware on a Business

The effects of a ransomware attack on a business can be devastating. Data loss, system downtime, and financial losses are common consequences of an attack. In addition to the financial impact, businesses may also suffer reputational damage if sensitive data is leaked or stolen by hackers.

Additionally, productivity losses and data loss from ransomware can cost a business thousands of dollars. Organizations that do not pay the ransom quickly enough risk further consequences like brand harm and legal action from attackers with access to the victim’s data who will threaten to reveal data and expose the data breach.

Examples of Ransomware Attacks

The WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 was one of the largest and most damaging ransomware attacks in history, affecting more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries. The attackers demanded payment of up to $300 per system and disrupted services such as the UK’s National Health Service.

CryptoLocker is another example of a severe ransomware attack. CryptoLocker encrypts files on the victim’s computer and requests money in return for a decryption key. It was estimated to have caused more than $3 million in damages.

Cerber is an example of a ransomware attack that uses encryption and ransom notes to extort victims. It encrypts files on the victim’s computer while also providing instructions on how to pay a ransom in exchange for a decryption key.In order to prevent users from reinstalling the operating system, Cerber runs invisibly while encrypting files and may attempt to stop antivirus and Windows security features from functioning. When it successfully encrypts files on the computer, a ransom notice appears as the desktop background.

Locky is a ransomware attack that encrypts files and displays a ransom note with instructions on how to pay the ransom. It attempts to spread itself through email attachments, malicious downloads, and exploits in vulnerable websites. Locky is unique because it uses aggressive spreading techniques including an ability to modify system settings and disable security measures while also displaying fake error messages that encourage users to click on malicious links.

NotPetya and Petya are two of the most well-known ransomware attacks. While NotPetya used zero-day exploits in order to spread itself, Petya used malicious email attachments and exploit kits to spread its payload. Both caused massive disruption for businesses worldwide, leading to data theft, system downtime, and economic losses.Petya needs the user’s consent before it may make admin-level changes. After the user confirms, the machine restarts, displays a phony system crash screen, and begins secretly encrypting the drive. After that, the ransom demand appears.

Ransomware Protection Strategies

  • Data Backup: The best protection against ransomware is having secure, up-to-date backups. This will ensure that in the event of an attack, all lost data can be restored from a backup copy.Use the 3-2-1 rule with versioning control to backup data to an external hard drive on a regular basis (Make three backup copies on two different media, and keep one copy in a different place.). Disconnect the hard disk from the computer if you can to avoid having the backup data encrypted.
  • Email Protection: Be wary of emails with suspicious attachments or links. Do not open attachments in emails from unknown senders, and be sure to scan all files with anti-virus software before downloading them. Employees should be trained to recognize social engineering emails, and tests should be administered to see if they can spot and avoid phishing emails. Use spam protection and endpoint protection software to automatically filter out questionable emails and, if a user does happen to click on one of the links, to disable the harmful content.
  • Web Protection: Use a secure web browser that is up-to-date, ensure that your computer is running the latest version of its operating system, and install the latest security patches and antivirus software to protect your system from malicious websites. Use a firewall to filter out incoming traffic and prevent unauthorized access, as well as browser extensions to block malicious content.
  • Modern endpoint protection solution : Endpoint protection solutions can protect a system from ransomware by using machine learning to detect suspicious activity, proactively blocking threats, and providing visibility into the network. These solutions can also be used to quickly recover lost or stolen data in case of a ransomware attack. They also provide endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities and device firewalls, which aid security teams in quickly identifying and blocking endpoint attacks.
  • Network Security: Organizations should have a comprehensive security system in place to protect their networks from ransomware attacks. Firewalls and strong passwords are essential for stopping attacks before they reach the network, while intrusion detection systems can detect suspicious activity and alert administrators. Security policies should be in place to ensure that all users are up-to-date with software patches, anti-virus protection is installed on all computers, and other security measures such as encryption and access control are employed. also to stop ransomware from connecting with Command & Control centers, use a firewall or web application firewall (WAF), intrusion prevention/intrusion detection systems (IPS/IDS), and other restrictions.
  • Establish device controls: Organizations should also consider implementing device control policies. These policies can help ensure that unauthorized devices are not allowed to connect to the network, limit the amount of data stored on removable media and external hard drives, and prevent users from executing files from unknown sources.Set up device controls that let you restrict installed programs to a centrally-managed whitelist. To stop users from visiting harmful websites, users should increase browser security settings, disable Adobe Flash and other weak browser plugins, and utilize web filtering. Turn off macros in word processors and other exposed programs.
  • Data Protection: It is important for organizations to understand where their sensitive data is located, and who has access to it. There should be policies in place to ensure that only authorized people can access sensitive data, and encryption technologies should be used wherever possible to safeguard the privacy of data at rest. Additionally, monitoring systems can alert organizations if any suspicious activity is detected concerning their data.
  • Data Breach Response Plan: Companies should develop a data breach response strategy that specifies what should be done in the event of a ransomware attack. This plan should include specific instructions for how to identify and contain the attack, as well as procedures for restoring data, revoking access privileges, and notifying customers or other affected parties. The plan should also detail the roles and responsibilities of each person involved in the process.


A thorough understanding of your organization’s systems, people, assets, data, and capabilities must be built and maintained in order to successfully prevent any cybersecurity incident, including ransomware. You can create and put into place the controls to secure your vital resources once you’ve determined what they are. Protection is essential, but it’s only half the battle, as your team will also require effective event detection and reaction mechanisms to lessen the effects of a ransomware attack. To resume operations after an incident, your team will also require a rapid recovery strategy.

Ransomware is constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, so it’s important to stay ahead of the game by updating your security measures regularly. By employing these strategies, businesses can protect their data and remain safe from ransomware attacks.

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