What is ransomware 2.0, and how can you protect your systems against it?

What is ransomware 2.0, and how can you protect your systems against it?

Ranking as one of the most common cyberthreats in the world today, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to encrypt files or block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid. Such attacks have maintained stable activity over the past few years, with a sharp 50% year-on-year increase.

However, not only have ransomware attacks surged in numbers, but they’ve also grown in sophistication, with “ransomware 2.0” now posing new risks to organizations and individuals worldwide.

What is ransomware 2.0?

Compared to its predecessors, ransomware 2.0 now involves exfiltrating your data before encrypting it. This means hackers will now steal sensitive information before rendering it inaccessible, giving them additional leverage in extorting you for ransom. They’ll often threaten to release these files publicly unless the payment is made, putting both your finances and industry reputation at risk.

It's important to note that while a ransom is demanded in order to re-access your data, such an outcome is never guaranteed. In fact, in 2021, only 65% of stolen data was restored among ransomware victims even after the attacker was paid.

How to protect your business from ransomware 2.0

As ransomware attacks become more rampant, it pays to exercise greater caution and follow some safeguards to make sure you don’t fall prey.

Implementing robust endpoint security

Endpoint security refers to the security measures taken to secure devices such as computers, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets that connect to a network. Some tools that could bolster your endpoint security include the use of antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS). Each tool proactively monitors your system for potential threats or suspicious activity, ensuring security issues are nipped in the bud before they escalate.

In addition, regular software updates and patch management help address any vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity as well as improve performance, making them crucial to any endpoint security measure,

You should also consider network segmentation as a security measure. This entails dividing a network into separate zones or segments based on department, function, security level, or other factors. This is aimed at creating barriers in your organization that help contain ransomware infections and limit lateral movement within networks.

Enforcing data backup and recovery strategies

Maintaining regular and reliable data backups is crucial in case any ransomware or data loss incident takes place. This means creating copies of critical data on a frequent basis, ensuring they’re stored securely and are accessible for recovery when needed.

It pays to follow the 3-2-1 backup rule: a strategy that recommends having at least three copies of your data, stored on two different types of media, with one copy stored offsite or in a separate location from your primary data. Testing your backup restoration procedures is equally as important — be sure to regularly verify backup integrity, test and improve your recovery procedures, and validate data restoration from your backups.

Having a documented and well-rehearsed incident response plan for ransomware attacks is also recommended, outlining the steps to detect, contain, eradicate, and recover from such incidents effectively. It should also include procedures for notifying stakeholders and engaging with law enforcement, if necessary.

User education and awareness

Educating users on the risks associated with ransomware should be a mandatory strategy in any cybersecurity measure. When employees are trained in recognizing common ransomware attacks such as phishing emails or malicious email links, they can take the steps necessary to contain and report potential threats. They should also be encouraged to practice good security hygiene, such as using complex passwords or enabling multifactor authentication (MFA) where possible.

By emphasizing the importance of data protection and compliance with security policies, you’ll help create a security-conscious workforce that actively contributes to ransomware prevention efforts.

Conducting continuous risk assessments

A risk assessment involves identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing potential risks and vulnerabilities that could expose your business to ransomware attacks or other cyberthreats. By continuously implementing these, you could proactively detect any potential security issues before they evolve into greater threats or targets for exploitation. Such issues commonly include outdated software, inadequate access controls, or simply misconfigured security settings.

It could help to prioritize risks based on their potential impact and likelihood of occurrence, focusing on mitigating any high-risk areas first to reduce the overall possibility of cyberattacks. Moreover, as ransomware techniques and tactics continue to evolve, conducting these assessments can help your business easily adapt to such changes and enhance its security measures as necessary.

Our experts at Kortek Solutions offer comprehensive IT solutions tailored to your specific business needs, helping keep your data safe and attackers at bay. Get in touch with our team today.