Ransomware – The threat is still very real

We’re all getting tired of hearing about ransomware, even I am, but unfortunately it is here to stay. Just like a pack of wolves, hackers will target the weakest, most vulnerable organizations and not stop until they get their reward. In some circumstances these rewards come at a high price, both financially and operationally.

Quite worryingly, I’ve heard far too many senior leaders and IT professionals murmur the words (which are music to hackers’ ears) “I’m safe because I have anti-virus software, I’m safe because my data is in the cloud, I’m safe because I replicate.” This sadly is not the case.

In reality trying to prevent cyberattacks is noble and the right thing to do, but it won’t stop the inevitable happening. The most important action organizations can take right now is to protect their business-critical data, so that when their front line is breached they are prepared to react and fight back. I don’t mean literally fight back, I mean to instantly recover from an immutable backup that should be part of standard business practice.

In my experience I can’t talk about the best anti-virus products or cloud security solutions, but what I can share with you is my opinion about replication.

Replication is designed to share information to ensure consistency between redundant resources, improving reliability, availability and mitigating against risk. Replication will not prevent data corruption or encryption to data.

Many businesses admit they would not be able to get back online quickly, or even at all, after a ransomware attack according to Assured DP. organizations who are breached without a good backup solution have two options – pay the ransom or lose their data as it is encrypted and unreadable.

The financial impact of ransomware can be phenomenal, here are a few examples: FedEx attributed a $300 million loss in its Q1 2017 earnings report to the NotPetya ransomware attack (Reuters). A security survey found that only 29 percent of small businesses had experience with ransomware (IBM). The WannaCry cyberattack that swept through dozens of hospitals across the UK last year cost the NHS a total of £92m (NSTech).

The cost of ransomware to businesses paints a frightening picture, one that can be easily avoided. The best way to protect your business is to ensure you have a quality backup and recovery solution, one that backs up regularly and allows frequent auditable DR tests.