Ransomware attacks have been growing increasingly prevalent since 2020. In such attacks, malicious software called ransomware is used to deny victims access to their IT systems or data until they've paid the ransom.
In 2022, breaches inflicted by ransomware skyrocketed by 41% and took 49 days longer than the average breach to detect and contain. This year, ransomware is expected to grow into an even bigger threat to businesses.
What ransomware trends will dominate in 2023?
Here’s how ransomware attacks are predicted to play out this year:
- Growing use of double-extortion attacks – Rather than simply encrypting business data and asking for ransom to decrypt it, ransomware groups are launching double-extortion attacks. In such attacks, ransomware groups also exfiltrate their victim's sensitive data and threaten to publish it online. This puts additional pressure on the victim to pay the ransom.
- Introduction of additional extortion methods – In 2022, the LockBit ransomware group launched distributed denial-of-service attacks on their ransomware victims to increase their chances of getting paid. More ransomware groups will likely explore new extortion tactics in 2023 to increase their profits.
- Rise of initial access brokers (IAB) – IAB sales activities increased by 41% between H2 2021 and H1 2022. By partnering with IABs, ransomware groups quickly gain access to a compromised machine within an organization. This lets them focus their efforts on moving laterally within the compromised network and negotiating ransom payments.
- Increasing popularity of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) – More ransomware groups will offer RaaS for a quick buck. RaaS enables less tech-savvy cybercriminals to easily launch ransomware attacks.
How can your business defend against ransomware in 2023?
To keep up with the more sophisticated ransomware attacks that are becoming more and more common and mitigate their risks, you need to take the following steps:
- Keep software up to date – Deploy the latest security patches and upgrades as soon as they become available. Maintaining updated systems makes it harder for attackers to exploit any known vulnerabilities.
- Review port settings – Many ransomware strains exploit Remote Desktop Protocol port 3389 and Server Message Block port 445. As such, you must review and make the necessary changes to the port settings of your on-premises and cloud environments to improve security. This usually includes restricting port connections to only trusted hosts rather than leaving these ports open.
- Create and test backups regularly – Having data backups is key to recovering from a ransomware attack. That’s why you must regularly test your backups to ensure that they are working and up to date.
- Implement multilayered security – Put in place a comprehensive security strategy by deploying multiple security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, endpoint protection, and multifactor authentication.
- Conduct 24/7 monitoring – Start by establishing what’s normal in your ecosystem so you can quickly identify anomalies. Then, use a security information and event management solution to monitor, detect, and respond to any suspicious activity on your network.
- Educate your employees – Ransomware is often distributed via phishing emails with malicious attachments. It’s therefore important to train your employees how to spot and respond to phishing and other cyberthreats.
- Create a playbook for responding to security incidents – Develop and document clear steps that need to be taken as soon as an attack is detected. This way, the response team can quickly implement mitigating measures before the damage spreads further.
- Regularly run cyberattack simulations – Having an incident response plan is not enough. You also need to conduct regular exercises to ensure that everyone knows what to do in case of a cyberattack. This also allows you to make the necessary changes to improve the plan.
Following these steps will help you keep ransomware attacks at bay. But to ensure comprehensive cyber protection for your business, turn to the IT security experts at Founders Technology Group. Get in touch with us to learn more about our complete suite of security services.