Ransomware the Highest Cyber Security Threat Of 2020
Experts predict the topmost threat of 2020 is ransomware.
Ransomware the Highest Cybersecurity Threat Of 2020
Already many efforts have been taken to discourage every individual, corporation, and municipality not to pay any ransoms. But ransomware itself is so damaging that it forces the victim to pay to remain for the time being. But the fact is that the pay encourages the attackers to retreat with more enthusiasm.
According to the research by Chubb, a cyber insurance firm, ransomware attacks in 2019 increased in comparison to the previous study. The attacks also increased by 12 percent, considering the past five years. Instances of cyber claims last year popped up to 40 percent in the case of the manufacturers and 23 percent for smaller businesses.
Javvad Malik works as a security awareness advocate at KnowBe4. He says, "Ransomware has not only continued to grow over the years, but it has also attracted more organized criminals who have begun targeting specific industries. That has not only increased successful infections but has also made criminals more brazen in the demands they've been making."
Prevention system is easy
It is easy to remain safe from the ransom attacks. And it is such an irony we become victims of such a threat. Simple steps like not browsing untrusted websites or stopping opening cheesy email attachments.
Tom Thomas works as an adjunct faculty member of the Online Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management program at Tulane University. He says, "Ransomware will continue to be an issue until such time that a preventative measure can be found or every user can be educated well enough to not open files from unknown sources."
Ransomware is a terrible threat because of its large target ranging from individuals, businesses, government agencies, and cities. Not the rate of ransomware attacks increased last year, but some 22 of them were so critical that they damaged and stopped computer systems of the city, county and even state government.
If there is no measure to stop them, then it is wise to take steps that can make the attacks less profitable. As the attackers targeted many municipalities, 225 mayors from the U.S. signed a resolution at the U.S. Conference of Mayors last summer vowing not to pay the ransom attacks.
Thomas says, "Ransomware does not judge nor care if you are an individual, government or organization. It's about greed -- and let's be honest, organizations have more money than individuals. The mayors' pledge is so much political maneuvering and sound bites. Their pledge means nothing to threat actors and criminals."
Malik says, "Those pledges are not the end of the story -- they are just the beginning. Like an animal that acquires the taste of human flesh after its first kill, the rise and success of ransomware have given cyber criminals the taste of data."
The most concerning facts are that what the criminals will do with the stealth data.
Another security awareness advocate at KnowBe4 is Erich Kron. He predicts, "It will be common to see ransomware coupled with threats of data exposure as ransomware strains developers and expands on new methods to demand payment."
"We have seen these threats for years; however, data exposure has already happened late in 2019 and will become a common practice in 2020 for those who don't pay." added.
A King's Ransom
In comparison to the business owners, city leaders are fiercer in deciding against ransom by not paying the attackers. But many companies now have a budget to fund the attacks. It is an apparent defeat for them and a win for the hackers.
Jason Kent works as a hacker in residence at Cequence Security. He says, "From the perspective of a business owner of any size, ransomware is a frightening proposition. Imagine all of the endpoints in an organization failing in a few hours. If we look at the organizations that have been hit with ransomware, the recovery process was painful and took huge amounts of effort to get back online. If we are to make it through 2020 with our systems intact, we have to watch out for the ever-changing threat landscape."
"Wiper worms" is a new form of malware detected in 2018 and is a common issue now. Experts predict that these worms will also rise in the future. This malware frequently targets files/data, the boot section of a computer's operating system; and system and data backups.
Yaron Kassner is the CTO of security firm Silverfort. He says, "While not as common as ransomware, this type of malware is a major risk because of the devastating outcomes of such attacks."
"I see wiper worms as one of the top cyber threats for 2020," He adds.
The vice president of Virsec, Willy Leichter, says, "Once attackers have a foothold, it's easier for them to encrypt data for ransom than to exfiltrate data to sell on the dark Web."
"Cryptocurrencies now make it easy for criminals to monetize attacks anonymously. Recent attacks have encrypted data and threatened to expose it publicly if the victim doesn't pay up. While this is probably a bluff, it raises the perceived stakes for victims, increasing their desperation and willingness to pay," he added.
Recovery Efforts Lacking
The recovery process from any ransomware and wiperware also needs many efforts. Only a handful of companies have such business strategies to recover after an attack occurs.
Sean Deuby is the director of services at Semperis. He says, "According to a recent Forrester report, most businesses are in denial about their ability to recover from such an attack."
"Seventy-seven percent are confident or very confident, but only 21 percent have contingency plans in place, and less than half that -- 11 percent -- believed they could recover within three days of an attack." he continues.
"Organizations must take a clear-eyed, hard look at how unprepared they are for a denial-of-availability malware attack and reshuffle their priorities accordingly," Deuby adds.
"Ransomware and other wiperware are unprecedented in its ability to lay waste to a corporate network without regard to the physical location: NotPetya permanently encrypted 55,000 Maersk servers and other devices around the world in 7 minutes."