With the advancement of the adoption of new technologies by companies, new problems arise to be fought. One of them is the so-called ransomware attack , an invasion method that has been growing and that targets the data of organizations.

To give you an idea, in Brazil alone, these violations have taken on great proportions in recent times, to the point that they have made the country among the four with the biggest problems of ransomware and other malware. According to a Microsoft , it is estimated that these invasions will increase by 30% in 2021 alone, resulting in a loss of BRL 32.4 billion in Brazil alone.

Thus, despite being a very widespread attack model, many leaders of organizations still have doubts about its impacts and how to combat them. Therefore, we separate in this article, valuable information to raise the level of security of your business. Continue reading and check it out!

What is ransomware attack?

Do you know what a ransomware attack is? Starting with an analogy, it can be said that this malware works like a hijacking. That's because the kidnappers' goal is always to ask for ransom for what they took by force, isn't it? Well, this hacking method follows the same logic.

The difference lies in the fact that it is not a victim, but the data that this person or company has. Therefore, cybercriminals seek to affect computers that are unprotected and may contain valuable information.

The word “ransom” in English can be translated as “ransom” and the malware got its name precisely because it forces people to pay an amount to get their data back.

This is an ingenious technique, which has several variants and each of them must be treated differently. But before knowing what to do, you need to understand how this virus works.

How does it work?

Cybercriminals have put small and medium-sized companies in focus , considering that they tend to be less prepared when we think about security measures and training for their employees.

On the other hand, large companies are not free from threats either. This is because human errors are evident in organizations of any size, as simple clicks on wrong links and weak passwords act as gateways for this powerful malware.

But how does it actually work? Well, after getting inside and infecting the computer, some of the data (files) may have their names and extensions changed. This is one of the first signs that problems are occurring.  

Increased use of hardware, such as memory and processor, are also signs of invasion. This is due to the fact that the cybercriminal is using the machine to devise his grand plan: blocking the computer's data.  

The final blow happens when, when trying to open a specific file, a notification is received that it has been encrypted and needs an access password. At this point, ransomware attack can differentiate. This is because these viruses fall into four categories:  

  • Blockers: cause the entire PC to be blocked, so the user is unable to make any use of his machine. They are not as common as Encrypters , which focus only on the data.
  • The company could still run the risk of having Doxware , which, in addition to threatening to block information, also copies that data. The intention is to make these files published on the internet if the ransom is not paid.
  • Scareware finally , takes a different approach. In it, the invaded user receives a notification that flaws were found in his system and that to correct them it is necessary to pay a fee.

Thus, despite all the technological ingenuity, it is possible to see that most of the time the real target is unprepared people. After all, some may believe a scareware message and others may simply not have prepared for a ransomware attack.

How does ransomware attack harm businesses?

To get an idea of ​​the negative impacts of a ransomware attack, here are two cases that happened recently.  

In October 2021, Atento , a call center company, suffered a major ransomware attack.

For her, it was essential to ensure that her data was not leaked, which resulted in the interruption of all connections with her customers. That is, even with agile security protocols , the company had to deal with a break in work.

Another case, which also occurred in 2021, was that of JBS . The world's largest meat processor had its system invaded by a ransomware attack, which paused all operations in several countries, such as the United States and Australia.

To make matters worse, as reported by the G1 , the company reports having paid around $11 million to rescue your data. A value that could impact and even exterminate the operation of several small and medium-sized companies.

What are the costs and dangers involved in a ransomware attack?

Both data leakage and the need to recover them involve risks and very high costs. Therefore, these invasions need to be prevented or remedied in the early stages.

Furthermore, the ransom costs can be high and most of the time paying them shouldn't be an option. That's because in addition to losing a huge sum, the company is fueling one of the fastest growing cyber crimes.

Not to mention that you have to trust the hacker, that he will release the files after payment – ​​which may not happen. These turn out to be the direct ethical and financial costs, but there are still other problems.  

When data is leaked, companies can still suffer a severe blow to their reputation and credibility. In addition, there are deadlocks with the General Law for the Protection of Personal Data (LGPD).  

But then, how to protect your company from ransomware attacks?

There is no 100% effective method to guarantee that a ransomware attack will not happen. After all, human errors are the great triggers. However, there are always security measures that must be taken to protect your system from intrusions.

The first thing that must be implemented is the training and qualification of your team. 

Whether in small companies or large businesses, for employees with basic computer knowledge or IT specialist teams, all knowledge is valid to ensure better efficiency in protecting systems. In this sense, several specialists in the area cite the lack of preparation in Brazil as the main cause of the high number of invasions, and one way to combat this scenario is precisely through the training of employees. Moreover, protecting your company from ransomware attacks involves robust defense strategies such as adopting more complex accesses or limiting data transfer by agents with low permissions.

In addition, the use of cloud backups can also ensure greater security, as your data is duplicated in the service and this will mean that the operation does not stop if the data is stolen.

In practice, it is clear that all these measures are complementary to create a truly secure environment and mitigate the chances of cyber attacks.

How to proceed in case of ransomware attack?

In cases of ransomware attacks, it is necessary to promote rapid detection based on assumptions already mentioned in this article. Identification of files behaving strangely, sudden high hardware usage, improper network access, etc. Atento's case shows a little of what can be done. They blocked the connection with all external agents, preventing data from being leaked and even the virus itself from being transferred in some way to other systems.

After detecting an intrusion, it's time to find out which virus has infected the computer or the network, and then act to decrypt the data. This will not always be possible, but it is a way to be followed to avoid contact with the hacker as much as possible.  

It is also extremely important to verify that there has been no data leakage before adopting the breakdown of communication with other networks. This can be done through the traces left by the malware.

There are many paths, so specialists must be called in at this time. 

Data Center Security: Is Your Business Data Protected?

Local data centers may not be the best option for protecting data from a ransomware attack. This is due to the fact that they hardly ever have offsite backups and an infection can spread throughout the system quickly.

In these cases, the company is at the mercy of efficient combat or will have to pay the ransom to the invaders. The actions end up being limited, due to the lack of connectivity and also the low redundancy of the system.  

Thus, in addition to promoting more data security, cloud data centers support the optimization of operations, such as data storage, more security and savings in office costs, among other advantages for business growth.

Why migrating to the cloud can be a solution?

Migrating to the cloud can be one of the solutions to minimize ransomware attacks due to several factors. The first is that the companies that perform these services are always attentive to the issue of security, after all, this is part of their product and their identity.

Another issue is that there will be greater redundancy of the data, such as more efficient backups that will not be located in a single data center. In addition, cloud specialists have experience and several certifications that guarantee safe and efficient use in this environment.

However, it is always important to emphasize that only adopting cloud solutions may not be enough. This is because it is essential that a set of good practices be developed, such as employee training and use of extra layers of protection , through, for example, EDR solutions.

Therefore, it is essential that data in the cloud is always monitored by a specialized team committed to the main cybersecurity measures. In this context, migration becomes a very effective solution against a ransomware attack.  

Want to dive deeper into cloud security? Download the Cloud Security Guide to learn how to prevent intrusions into your system!

Written by

Sky.One Team

This content was produced by SkyOne's team of cloud and digital transformation experts.

SkyOne Connect 2023