FBI Issues a PSA About Ransomware: “Big-Game Hunting” is on the Rise!
Ransomware is commonly spread through phishing emails or infected websites, and unfortunately, it’s becoming a more common threat nowadays. Datto found that ransomware is costing businesses more than $75 billion per year.
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“Big-Game Hunting” is on the Rise!
The threat that costs businesses an average of $133,000 per attack isn’t slowing down… In fact, it’s ramping up BIG time.
By now, you have almost certainly heard about ransomware – the form of malicious software wherein a cybercriminal gains access to your systems, encrypts everything, and demands a ransom for access back to your data. Ransomware is commonly spread through phishing emails or infected websites, and unfortunately, it’s becoming a more common threat nowadays. Datto found that ransomware is costing businesses more than $75 billion per year. So what’s the cost of the average attack? A staggering $133,000!
The FBI has issued a PSA about ransomware to let the public know about the ever-increasing number of attacks on businesses and organizations throughout the United States.
This announcement isn’t surprising given the high number of attacks we’ve seen against state agencies, counties, cities, and school districts over the past year. Although some attacks are opportunistic, many have been incredibly targeted and coordinated. Ransomware is a huge problem, but it’s getting even worse as time goes on. In fact, the authors of one ransomware strain announced they were ready to retire this year because they’ve already made roughly $2 billion!
The FBI stated in their announcement:
“Ransomware attacks are becoming more targeted, sophisticated, and costly, even as the overall frequency of attacks remains consistent. Since early 2018, the incidence of broad, indiscriminate ransomware campaigns has sharply declined, but the losses from ransomware attacks have increased significantly, according to complaints received by IC3 [the Internet Crime Complaint Center] and FBI case information.”
What is “big-game hunting” and why should you be concerned?
CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity technology company, has found that there’s been a significant rise in what’s known as “big-game hunting” over the past year and a half. Big-game hunting is essentially the process of cybercriminals focusing on high-value data or assets within businesses. They choose targets they know are sensitive to downtime because they’ll be more likely to pay a ransom, regardless of how costly that ransom is. Some likely targets include:
They tend to look for industries that depend on their information technology, and if they’re low on budget and/or security resources, they’re even more likely to strike. In their PSA, the FBI cited three major modes of attack:
Email phishing campaigns
Exploitation of remote desktop protocol (RDP)
Known vulnerabilities in software
How can businesses stay safe against sophisticated, coordinated ransomware attacks?
As sophisticated, coordinated ransomware attacks continue to occur, businesses need to take the right precautions to stay safe. Otherwise, they risk losing everything they’ve worked so hard for. Here’s a few tips:
Apply the latest patches and/or updates to all software
Develop and enforce a cybersecurity policy that encompasses best practices
Use two-factor authentication and encryption wherever possible
Train employees to know about the latest threats and how to thwart them
Implement an effective backup and disaster recovery strategy
Ensure multi-layered, comprehensive cybersecurity measures are in place
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