So, what is ransomware precisely, and how does it work?
Ransomware is a sort of virus that tries to encrypt files on a host computer system without permission. When an attacker gains access to a company's computer systems and installs malicious software, this is known as a ransomware attack. The software, or 'payload,' then encrypts or deletes the data, making it unusable. Ransomware is frequently designed to propagate from device to device in order to encrypt as many files as possible.
The 'ransom' element derives from the ransom note left by the attacker, which demanded payment in exchange for the data to be restored. This is normally accomplished through the use of a decryption key that only the attacker has access to.
A personal data breach occurs when personal data gets encrypted as a result of a ransomware attack because you no longer have timely access to the data. Unless you have a backup of the data, you will almost never be able to recover it unless you agree to meet the attacker's demands. Even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that the attacker will provide you with the key to decrypt the files.
Why is ransomware such a hot topic in data security?
In recent years, ransomware attacks have become one of the most widespread cyber threats to personal data. As a result of the compromise, personal information may not be accessible in a timely manner and data loss could be permanent if adequate backups are not in place. Ransomware is the most serious cyber threat confronting the United Kingdom, according to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which has identified it as the primary threat, with cybercriminals increasingly driven by profit. The attacks are growing more destructive, and this trend is expected to continue. Malicious cyber attackers are coming up with new strategies to compel companies to pay.
Ransomware cyber security threats come in many forms, and some of the most common data infrastructure security threats on the scene today include…
Phishing continues to be one of the most prevalent and damaging threats to both individuals and businesses, expanding in both number and complexity while becoming increasingly difficult to detect. Phishing assaults, on the other hand, have the same goal: to separate people from their login credentials, which attackers then exploit to get access to corporate resources, steal finances or intellectual property, or cause havoc with the company. Throughout the pandemic, phishing assaults increased dramatically, ranging from COVID-19 scams to the lure of small business financial support and tax relief.
Botnets have been used to perform distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the past. Botnets have been used to stealthily mine bitcoins as well as target IoT infrastructure in recent years. Businesses that have been the target of this type of attack are frequently unaware that their resources are being abused, sometimes for years. Botnet assaults are particularly dangerous to cloud-based systems.
Using remote access solutions was the most frequent way to gain access to a network. Attackers frequently search the internet for open ports like remote desktop protocol and utilise them as a first point of access. They can use the remote access solution to authenticate if they can obtain legitimate credentials (for example, through phishing, password database dumps, or brute-force password guessing). You should risk assess and document your remote access practises, as well as determine necessary countermeasures. An access control policy that steers you to the bare minimum of controls is helpful in putting in place the right controls. If single-factor authentication can lead to access to personal data, DON’T USE IT! Use multi-factor authentication or other access measures that are at least as secure.
It doesn't matter how secure your infrastructure is against cyber threats if physical barriers like locked doors, fences, alarm systems, and security guards aren't in place to safeguard it. With physical theft and devices in mind, an employee's laptop stolen from their home or a remote working spot such as a coffee shop or a misplaced data storage device on a key fob might possibly endanger your company's data!
Lastly, and probably most importantly an element which is the most difficult to police within an organisation when it comes to data protection and data security - human error!
For the average business, creating a cybersecurity culture and training staff on IT best practices should not be an expensive or difficult task. Investing substantially in security tools or lengthy and unpleasant training programmes isn't the answer; it's a culture transformation problem. Establishing a workable and practical cybersecurity culture is all about cultivating a security-conscious attitude that minimises human errors and bad user practices to prevent cybersecurity accidents. What's worse than a hostile cyber attacker is a group of employees that don't understand cybersecurity fundamentals, and each team member is a danger and a possible source of malware infection or compromised credentials. Employee training and adoption of IT security educational programmes should move to the top of the agenda for any organisation looking to defend their IT environment, as all sorts of cyberattacks are on the rise, with people-based attacks having the fastest rate of development.
So, as you can see, data protection should be high on any organisation's list of priorities and that is the case whether it is a one-man-band or a sizeable enterprise. The complexities of your data protection measures depend on your processes and do not have to be too onerous.
Corporation Tax Rebates is a Data Risk Compliance Management company that supports both SME's and larger companies to quantify the financial risk a GDPR breach can have on their business. A provision for this risk can then be added to a business's annual accounts resulting in a tax rebate. As the UK’s first corporation tax recovery service based on data risk and compliance, we know that non-compliance with GDPR can mean companies face hefty fines. At Corporation Tax Rebates we help mitigate the risk through data compliance and applying a provision in a company's accounts to help protect the value of the data and this results in a reduction on corporation tax owed. With this accounting process, we can claim tax back for companies that have paid out more than £20k in the last two to three years. To find out how, contact us on tel. 0333 3661097 or email [email protected]