Ransomware attacks are so many nowadays. They target financial institutions, hospitals, insurance companies, among other high-end institutions. Coincidentally, account takeover attacks affect similar organizations as ransomware attacks. Though the two kinds of attacks are different, the motivations behind them are identical. Financial gains motivate attackers. Unfortunately, the two attacks can be carried at the same time. An account takeover attack can precede a ransomware attack and vice versa. Account takeover attacks result from successful credential stuffing attacks where an attacker validates the credentials and knows he can use them to log in to an account. The attacker can steal, buy, or get the credentials from a previous data breach. Although many companies have taken measures to secure their online infrastructure, some have not. Below we will look at the strategies to protect from account takeover attacks.
Ransomware Explained Strategies to Prevent Ransomware Attacks and Account Takeovers
What is ransomware?
It refers to a type of malware that attacks and infects the files in a computer. It either encrypts the files within the computer or encrypts a computer’s boot sector. Essentially, your system is “kidnapped”. Until you meet the ransom demands, you cannot use your computer. In most cases, the ransom is usually in terms of money in untraceable currencies like bitcoins. You pay to get the decryption key to your system. It is a cyberattack common in health, financial, insurance, and other large corporate sectors.
How is ransomware affected?
They deliver the malicious code to your system through phishing emails. The other source of the links is through “drive-by downloads” from infected websites. Then they have been downloaded; they can automatically install and encrypt the computer or wait until the attacker issues the command.
What are the various ransomware attacks?
The most common type of ransomware is encrypting ransomware. Based on the outcome of the attack, the other ransomware includes;
Locker ransomware: This ransomware locks a system and demands payment to grant access to the system. There can be a bogus law enforcement message that you have involved the system in illegal activity, and you have to pay the fine to be granted access.
Crypto ransomware: This type of ransomware encrypts the files in a computer and then coerces the victim into paying a certain amount of money. The attacker even sends the victim a decryption key that they can use for one time to prove to the victim that they can free the system.
Other types of ransomware include mobile device ransomware, IoT ransomware, and scareware ransomware.
Strategies to prevent ransomware attacks and account takeover attacks
Get informed on threat intelligence
Ensure that you know what attackers know about your organization and the employees. This will help you stay ahead of the attacker before they launch an attack on your organization. Threat intelligence exists in three kinds:
Compromised credentials: Constantly monitor for user credentials that have been compromised. They may be from third-party services. In case you find that your entire organization is compromised, it is necessary to call incident responders to activate your cyber security emergency plan.
Detection of an ongoing attack: In this form of threat intelligence, if they have scanned your ports for vulnerabilities or the server is under a denial of service attack, you can use firewalls and other security software.
Data compromise: There are threat intelligence services that show whether your internal data or documents are compromised. They scan the dark web and bins for web data dumps.
Although multifactor authentication can help stop 99.9% of credential stuffing attacks that precursor to account takeover, overreliance on them can leave you exposed. Once an account is compromised, the multifactor authentication becomes single-factor authentication.
Conducting cybersecurity audits
To prevent ransomware and credential stuffing, you need to think like the attacker. Clearly understand where the security vulnerabilities are. This information can help you find the shortest path to protect your systems and online infrastructure from the threats above. Vulnerabilities exist in two forms; IT infrastructure vulnerabilities and compromised login credentials. Your team may not always admit that they have vulnerabilities. Therefore, having a third party conduct a thorough audit can help you. Third parties use threat intelligence in analyzing the security deficiencies within your organization and help set up an action plan.
Implement a recovery action plan
An action plan for recovery is essential in case of a business-wide ransomware and account takeover attack. There are fire drills in most companies, and there should be a plan for various emergencies occasioned by a cyber attack. As the chief security officer, emulate the CFO in having foolproof cybersecurity. You need to protect the financial system as the attacker finds it the ideal place to target primarily. This is because they know it is the fastest way to cash in. ensure that your recovery action plan is thorough in accommodating any interruption in your business and bringing it back within the shortest time possible.
Having adequate cyber security resources, software, and trained personnel
Having one person as the CISO is not enough for a sizable company. It would help if you had enough cyber security personnel within your company that is well trained. It would be best if you had incident responders at hand. This ensures that you are prepared to respond to ransomware and account takeover incidences when or if they arise.
Smaller companies cannot adequately protect themselves from various cyber security issues. They can enlist the services of managed security service providers (MSSPs) to handle their security. MSSPs have security operation centers that enable them to offer real-time services to their clients. They can help manage intrusion detection, cloud services, firewalls, antivirus services, and vulnerability scanning. Ensure that you select a provider who understands your business.
Obtain a Cybersecurity Insurance
To cover the liabilities and damages arising from a data breach, you can enroll in cyber security insurance. An insurance cover can help you cover the costs that arise from data breaches and other malicious forms of cyber security. The issues to consider when getting a cyber security policy include;
- What is the financial strength of the insurance company?
- The insurance deductibles
- The premiums that you have to pay
- Coverage for ransomware payments that need to be made, and
Any support that the insurance company will provide in case of a cyber security incident
Before they grant coverage, the insurance company may check to see if it has proper measures to protect itself against cyber security. Sometimes they even bring their penetration testing team for conducting their audit of cyber security.
As incidents of cyber security increase, it is crucial to know how to prevent them from affecting your system. Ransomware and account takeover attacks result in financial losses, and it is critical to protect yourself against them. Ensure that you have insured your business against cyber security, and the damages caused by some incidents are enormous for the company to bear.