Well over half of global organizations — 66% — were hit with ransomware attacks in 2021, according to a new independent study. In a sign that we may be seeing a ramp up to even more widespread damage from these sneak attacks, it’s a 78% increase over the prior year.
Ransomware has been on the cybersecurity radar since at least 1989, when bad actors targeted a healthcare system. Fast forward to 2022, and many organizations still sit vulnerable to these attacks, which have evolved to a point where collateral damage can include putting public health at risk, as it was when hackers took over the controls at a Florida water treatment facility and dumped dangerous levels of toxins into the public water supply.
The economic damage is eye-popping, too, with attackers yielding enough power to take down multi-million and multi-billion dollar companies. The report reveals that 86% of private-sector organizations hit by ransomware in 2021 said the attacks had caused them to lose business or revenue and that the average ransom has grown to $812,360 (five times more than the 2020 average of $170,000). For many SMBs, financial hits this big can effectively shut down their companies altogether, a fact ransom attackers rely on as they increase pressure on their victims to pay up.
So what gives? Ransomware is clearly a pressuring, growing concern for any organization that relies on networked computing. Why aren’t more organizations prepared?
For starters many organizations are operating under the false presumption that they are, in fact, prepared, only to find out too late that the cyber solutions they’d invested in were no match for sophisticated modern attackers. Too many cybersecurity providers are hawking a false sense of security, leaving their clients not only vulnerable, but unaware of that vulnerability.
The good news is that there are few telltale signs organizations can look for when determining their true risk level. Good questions to ask when evaluating the effectiveness of a cybersecurity program against the growing threat of ransomware include:
- Are cybersecurity platform monthly reports detailed enough? Do they include specific vulnerabilities that should be addressed? Are they clear and comprehensive or filled with jargon and unnecessary complexity? Look behind topline information and graphics.
- Can your cybersecurity solution detect and mitigate real-time threats?
- Are backups being conducted regularly and completely? Spot check backups from time to time to ensure they are capturing everything you might need to get back up and running after an attack.
- Are you implementing organization-wide education programs about cyber threats, including ransomware response?
- How are you managing potential internal weaknesses like access controls?
The bottom line is that a cybersecurity approach that relies on legacy approaches like rules-based platforms is simply insufficient against the threats of 2022 and beyond.
MixMode vs. Ransomware
MixMode is putting organizations back in the driver’s seat when it comes to navigating the modern threatscape. While no tool available today can fully prevent ransomware, MixMode’s highly advanced artificial intelligence, implemented alongside robust processes and good network hygiene can give organizations unprecedented access to preemptive attack identification.
As data streams across the network from within and across every entry point, the system establishes a generative baseline of evolving network behavior. Organizations can keep tabs on what users are clicking on and the effectiveness of firewalls and newly-installed security patches.
Advanced, self-learning AI empowers MixMode clients to stop attacks like the widely-reported Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack before they create havoc and inflict financial damage. The tool detects even the smallest deviations, like unusual email activity and embedded attachments, alerting SOCs about potential threats early on.
Instead of relying on retroactive log analysis, as far too many existing cybersecurity solutions do, MixMode can respond in real-time and actually decrease work hours devoted to fruitlessly analyzing mountains of false positive flags. The system is more responsive, more accurate, and more intuitive than the majority of options available in the market today.