Ransomware has become all too common — Gartner reports that nearly 70% of organizations globally have been impacted by these malicious tactics, which involve encrypting enterprise data and demanding a payment for decryption. At the heart of it all, it’s a relatively straightforward attack posture, but when we consider what it takes for a ransomware attacker to get inside the network and lock down key data, things become quite complicated. That’s why a modern approach that includes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are an enterprise’s best hope for warding off these attacks.
How do artificial intelligence and machine learning detect and prevent ransomware attacks?
When it comes to the effectiveness of AI and ML against ransomware, it’s really a numbers game. These tools can quickly analyze enormously large amounts of data to identify several potential issues across the network infrastructure, including:
- Patterns and anomalies that could indicate an attack is imminent
- Malicious activity within network traffic, including attempted data encryption activity
- Malware and malicious code
AI and ML are unique to legacy cybersecurity solutions that tend to rely on rules-based platforms that require frequent manual tuning — which is prone to human error — in that these advanced technologies actually “learn” and adapt to a given network. Instead of relying on these rules, once machine learning AI is launched on a network, it begins to develop a baseline of expected network behavior. This baseline is compared to new and changing network behavior and data — over time, these systems can actually review networks with enough context to determine whether unexpected behavior is actually safe or not.
Protecting your enterprise against ransomware attacks
AI and ML are effective tools in the fight against ransomware, but there are a few basic steps that can play an important role, as well. Remember to:
- Regularly backup data – in the event of an attack, you’ll be able to quickly restore your network
- Keep software and systems up to date – attackers are constantly creating new exploits
- Invest in employee education – one of the most effective ways to reduce ransomware risk is to educate employees on phishing tactics
AI and ML are powerful tools in the war against ransomware, especially when used alongside common sense best practices like backing up data resources and performing regular updates on all externally and internally facing systems.