Ransomware and Cyber Extortion – How to react, respond, regain control

Strategic Relevance

Ransomware attacks have had severe consequences, such as substantial financial losses and compromised sensitive data in the healthcare sector. In 2021, ransomware attacks cost the US healthcare sector an estimated $7.8 billion in downtime alone. Over 19.7 million patient records were affected in 108 individual attacks during the year. The impact of such attacks on organizations can be crippling, affecting operations and exposing them to sanctions and fines.

Challenges & Opportunities

Ransomware and cyber extortion pose significant challenges as they involve locking users out of their systems or encrypting their data until a ransom is paid. To address these challenges, it is essential to take immediate steps when facing a ransomware attack, such as staying calm, isolating affected systems, reporting the incident, and engaging cybersecurity experts. Recovery and prevention strategies play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of ransomware attacks. These strategies include wiping systems clean, restoring from secure backups, reinforcing defenses through patching and updates, and promoting cybersecurity awareness.

Future Trends

  • Evolving Threat Landscape: Ransomware attacks continue to evolve, becoming more sophisticated and targeted.
  • Increased Targeting of Critical Infrastructure: Expect an increase in ransomware attacks targeting critical sectors such as healthcare, energy, transportation, and finance.

Best Practices & Key takeaways

  • Stay Calm: Keep a level head to handle the situation effectively.
  • Isolate Affected Systems/Networks: Quarantine the affected systems to prevent the spread of the malware.
  • Report the Incident: Inform your IT department, local law enforcement, and cybercrime reporting center.
  • Engage a Cybersecurity Expert: Seek expert assistance to decrypt files or remove the ransomware.
  • Recover and Restore: Wipe systems clean and restore from secure backups if necessary.
  • Reinforce Defenses: Patch and update systems regularly to address vulnerabilities.
  • Promote Cybersecurity Awareness: Train staff to recognize and avoid threats, conduct simulation exercises.
Ts. Dr. Suresh Ramasamy
Cyber Security Expert
Malaysia

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature article are of the author. This is not meant to be an advisory to purchase or invest in products, services or solutions of a particular type or, those promoted and sold by a particular company, their legal subsidiary in India or their channel partners. No warranty or any other liability is either expressed or implied.
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