It has been just over a year since the head of the NCSC, Lindy Cameron, warned that ransomware posed “the most immediate danger” to British businesses. However, ransomware attacks on small businesses continue to pose an imminent threat to organizations worldwide.
And yet, despite its continued prevalence, some believe we’ve reached peak ransomware. Of course, we’re not quite at peak ransomware, but we may be close.
Healthcare organizations and educational institutions are not immune to cyber attacks by hackers. They need to focus on stopping these threats. It’s important to remember that they could affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
During the second quarter of 2019, ransomware activity increased by 21 percent when comparing the first quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019. Although the notorious group known as Conti ceased its activities during this time, it could not leave a vacuum for another threat actor to step into.
However, there are several vital takeaways organizations can implement to help mitigate their risks from these types of threats. For example, they should monitor for potential hazards and quickly patch any discovered security holes.
To ensure that your organization can respond effectively to cyber attacks, it’s essential to understand the ten steps. These steps include ensuring that your network infrastructure is secure, updating software regularly, implementing solid passwords, and backing up data. In addition, the NCSC offers a guide called “The 10 Steps to Cyber Safety” that outlines these basic principles.
A hospital may be affected by a ransomware attack if they’re unprepared for such an incident. Hospitals should implement a robust internal response strategy and ensure they can contact relevant authorities quickly. But if they get hacked, they’ll need to report the breach to law enforcement agencies and work with them to restore access to patient records.
Why Ransomware Attacks on Small Businesses Keep Going Up
There are shortcomings within reporting mechanisms. For instance, the report found that, from May 2021 to June 2020, in nearly 95% (or almost every) of ransomware attacks, it wasn’t clear whether the impacted organization paid a ransom or not. Even more troubling is that the information about these disclosures is often incomplete because, in most cases, companies aren’t aware of how attackers gained initial access.
Liaising with the appropriate authorities quickly gives your organization the best opportunity to respond effectively to a cyber incident. Transparency about what happened and who was involved can help mitigate reputational damage and improve future response efforts. Technical expertise and coordination across government departments are vital during an incident and should be sought immediately after the event.
What Can Be Done To Help?
Governmental organizations and private security firms are taking an increasingly active approach to combat cybercrime. While governments have historically focused on law enforcement and prosecution, they’re also starting to take a proactive stance. In addition to working with law enforcement, government officials are partnering with industry groups to develop new tools and techniques to combat online threats.
Private companies are also getting involved. They’re developing innovative ways to detect malicious software before it spreads and prevents attacks from succeeding. These efforts are helping to create safer networks for everyone.
Following the European Commission’s pledge last month to create a Joint Cyber Command, this July, NATO announced its plan for a cyber force. These moves demonstrate that nations are growing comfortable with openly collaborating within cyberspace. In addition to coordinated takedowns, simple actions such as increasing information exchange, intelligence, strategies, and tactical approaches will place everyone in the best possible situation to combat future attacks. Ensuring companies are ready to respond to cyber intrusions is the next critical step.
The NCSC has urged for a ‘holistic’ approach to cybersecurity, and they’ve been a great demonstration of how effective collaborative efforts work. For example, their frequent threat advisories distributed along with other countries have been made possible due to intel sharing and lock-step cooperation in public responses.
When considering the bigger picture for public institutions, collaborations in this area are an essential element. Still, it’s more helpful to look at them alongside taking the basic preparative steps to mitigate threats and ensure quick communication with the proper authorities when trouble strikes. The more everyone can regularly perform these things, the better and safer our society will be, and there will be fewer ransomware attacks on small businesses.