Stop Ransomware In Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Ransomware is a continuing problem and a growing threat to national security. For example, the U.S Department of Justice estimates that organizations paid around $350 million in ransom to cybercriminals in 2020. Additionally, nearly 75 percent of all ransomware attacks target small businesses. Combating cybercrime requires the combined efforts of government agencies and public and private organizations across our communities.
What Is Ransomware and How Does It Work?
Ransomware is a type of malware designed to hold the victim’s information hostage. The installed malware encrypts a user’s or organization’s data, limiting their access to files, databases, or applications and rendering any systems that rely on them unusable. In addition, ransomware attacks are often designed to spread rapidly across a network, thus paralyzing your entire organization.
Ransomware uses a cryptography technique that involves a pair of keys used to encrypt and decrypt a file. The attacker generates the unique keys, with the private key needed for decryption stored on the attacker’s server. Without access to this private key, decryption of the files can be nearly impossible.
Once the malware is installed and your files are encrypted, the cybercriminals often threaten to sell or leak exfiltrated data or authentication information if the ransom is not paid. If there is no data backup or the backups are encrypted, the victim is faced with paying a ransom to regain access to their files.
There are many variations of ransomware, and it can be distributed through targeted attacks or by using an email spam campaign. Once installed, the ransomware executes a malicious binary on the system that searches and encrypts valuable files. The ransomware may also exploit network vulnerabilities and spread to other systems, possibly affecting your entire organization’s network.
Ransomware: A Growing Global Issue
Ransomware is a growing global problem that shows no signs of slowing. Data shows that in 2021 cyberattacks increased by nearly 50 percent over the previous year. In addition, an alarming trend has emerged, with complex cyberattacks more frequently targeting small to medium-sized organizations.
As malware evolves and criminals employ new tactics, ransomware generates billions of dollars for cybercriminals. Additionally, today’s business leaders are faced with the growing threat of attacks from malicious nation-states.
For instance, several ransomware attacks that occurred in 2021 are suspected of being the work of malicious nation-states or their affiliated cyberattack groups, including:
- A ransomware attack against Planned Parenthood Los Angeles involved the sensitive health information of over 400,000 individuals.
- A shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, responsible for the delivery of nearly 45 percent of the fuel used on the East Coast.
- An attack against the world’s largest meat supplier, JBS Foods, resulted in the payment of a reported $11 million ransom.
- A ransomware attack on the Toronto Transit Commission disrupted services and put the personal data of thousands of employees at risk.
Federal agencies, officials, and security experts are urging organizations of all sizes to be vigilant and prepare for potential cyberattacks. Security advisors emphasize that ransomware attacks increasingly target small and mid-sized organizations, and they expect this trend to continue.
The CISA Stop Ransomware Website
As part of its continuing response to cybercrime, in July of 2021, the U.S. government launched a new website to help protect American businesses and communities from the increasing threat of ransomware. Through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Stop Ransomware website provides a one-stop resource for individuals, businesses, and organizations that want to mitigate their ransomware risk.
A collaborative effort involving security experts from several government agencies, this is the first joint website created solely to provide public and private organizations with new resources, tools, and initiatives to help protect against ransomware. The Stop Ransomware website consolidates resources from all federal government agencies, providing a wide range of ransomware guidance. Frequently updated information includes the latest ransomware-related alerts and updates from all participating agencies and clear guidance on how to report attacks.
Along with vital information, the Stop Ransomware website also offers organizations several free scanning and testing services to help assess, identify, and reduce exposure to cyber threats. CISA’s free scanning and testing services include:
- Vulnerability Scanning to identify externally-accessible assets or services that could be vulnerable to attack.
- Web Application Scanning to identify poor configurations and website weaknesses that attackers could exploit.
- Phishing Campaign Assessment to determine an organization’s susceptibility to opening malicious emails, a leading cause of ransomware.
- Remote Penetration Test to test perimeter defenses by mimicking the techniques cybercriminals use to gain access to networks.
In addition to other services provided to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, CISA offers a stand-alone desktop application that helps to guide organizations through a step-by-step process to evaluate the cybersecurity practices of their networks. The comprehensive self-evaluation is based on a tiered set of practices using industry and government-recognized standards and recommendations.
The U.S. Government developed the Stop Ransomware website to help organizations better assess their ability to defend against and recover from ransomware incidents. Consolidating resources can help many organizations identify and take steps to protect their networks and improve their response to a ransomware attack. Additionally, this resource provides IT teams with the technical resources they need to reduce their ransomware risk.
With ransomware attacks rising globally and impacting more and more small and mid-sized organizations, every organization must prioritize its cybersecurity. In recent years, cybercriminals have targeted schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, small businesses, and more, directly impacting the daily life of many Americans and the security of the nation.
At the launch of the Stop Ransomware site, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urged “every organization across our country to use this new resource to learn how to protect themselves from ransomware and reduce their cybersecurity risk.”
Stop Ransomware In Fort Lauderdale
Like most cyberattacks, ransomware exploits the weakest link, and every individual and organization is a potential target. Unfortunately, while many organizations have not taken the necessary steps to protect their networks, cybersecurity is not something that you can put off until tomorrow.
At LAN InfoTech, our goal is to stop ransomware in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Regardless of size, we encourage every organization to assess its network and identify weaknesses. Our team of security experts is here to help. Contact us today to learn how we can help protect your organization from ransomware and cyberattacks.
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