Recent high-profile Ransomware attacks have given a new perspective on the importance of workplace security.

These attacks are all too common and are targeted at organisations large and small, as well as at strategic national infrastructure.  Last week alone, the operator of the biggest fuel pipeline in the US, Colonial Pipeline, was hit by a ransomware attack. This caused a severe five-day outage and fuel shortages across many parts of eastern US.  In addition, reports of the owners paying $5million to their attackers shows just how costly these attacks can be. This payment representing just a small fraction of the financial and reputation impact to the provider.

This week we have seen many organisations, including the Garda National Cyber Crime Unit raise awareness on the risk’s ransomware poses. With Hybrid working now the norm for most businesses, old approaches to IT Security of ‘set it and forget it’ antivirus and firewalls to protect the main office, are no longer effective.

ActionPoint CEO, David Jeffreys said that that it would be “extremely complacent” for any organisation to ignore the  high profile ransomware attacks.

“These recent ransomware attacks that have taken place within some of the biggest national services and international organisations should be a wake-up call to organisations of all sizes. These cyber criminals and the threats they pose for business both in terms of financial and reputational cost knows no bounds. Securing our businesses and organisations should be the number one priority’, Mr Jeffreys added.

 

Ransomware

Our advice to all organisations remains consistent. All organisations need to continue to evaluate their cybersecurity risk and make regular improvements across Three Key Areas: Prevention, Detection and Remediation.

These include:

  1. Cybersecurity & Business Continuity for IT systems should be a Board Level item for discussion.
  2. Ensure you have effective backups and Disaster Recovery solutions that are regularly tested. Remember you may have backup but it can take days and weeks to restore. A robust Disaster Recovery solution and plan is essential.
  3. Ensure you are adopting Modern Security practices, including:
  • Multifactor Authentication with conditional access for all user logins
  • Modern advanced threat prevention and detection tooling over and above simple antivirus
  • Phishing protection on e-mail accounts
  • Regular system security audits

4. Do not pay. A common thread we have seen is that some larger profile organisations have paid their attackers to release their systems. There is no guarantee that this will happen. We have also seen many instances of a double attack/double extortion. This is where organisations have data ex-filtrated from their network ahead of an attack. As well as being held to ransom for systems access, their data is sold openly resulting in a potential double pay day for their attackers.

  1. Cyber Security Training. With our teams working remotely, there’s an increased need to ensure that those working from remote networks are clued in when it comes to spotting potential cyber threats. Employees are the gateway to every business and without the knowledge of how to spot potential threats or take care of security issues, your business is at risk. Cyber Security Training is an inexpensive investment that will equip your team with the knowledge and skills to identify and react appropriately to cyber threats. Learn more about Cyber Security Training from ActionPoint Virtual Academy, here.

If you would like to take the next steps in your cyber security strategy with end-user training, email academy@actionpoint.ie or click here to view more of ActionPoint Virtual Academy’s extensive course options.

 

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