Three things businesses should know about ransomware attacks

SIn the last decade, technology had become increasingly sophisticated, and unfortunately, so has cybercrime. FILE PHOTO: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

SIn the last decade, technology had become increasingly sophisticated, and unfortunately, so has cybercrime. FILE PHOTO: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Published Mar 23, 2023


Experts once said that ransomware attacks against businesses and organisations are not a question of “if” but “when”, a theory becoming more surreal amid a spike in cybercrime.

In fact, IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach 2022 report was one such report that mentioned that for 83% of companies, it’s not if a data breach will happen, but when.

The report stated that the average cost of a data breach in the United States stood at $9.44m, while the global average total cost of a data breach was $4.35m.

Despite this, cyber security software company Trend Micro recently provided further insights into how decision-makers and cybersecurity teams can better handle ransomware attacks.

Trend Micro’s technical lead for Africa, Emmanuel Tzingakis, said that in the last decade, technology had become increasingly sophisticated, while unfortunately, so too had cybercrime.

“The growth of ransomware as a method of attack is one area which has seen huge growth recently, sharing many interesting parallels with the professionalisation of cybercrime,” Tzingakis said.

Once an opportunistic and regionally bound method of attack which yielded little profit, ransomware is now a multi-billion dollar industry, which knows no borders.”

He added that sophisticated and targeted attack methods are something every organisation should be wary of.

“Yet, despite the prevalence of cybercrime and the devastating impact of ransomware, the dynamic and dangerous nature of these attacks means there is little knowledge regarding how best to combat this threat,” Tzingakis said.

Their most recent white paper, What Decision-Makers Need to Know About Ransomware Risk Trend Micro, highlighted numerous factors businesses should consider when faced with such incidents.

Here are three key factors for businesses to consider when faced with ransomware attacks:

Payments are not necessary

Trend Micro said that non-payment is an option and often only drives up the overall cost of the incident with very few benefits.

The company said that nine more attacks on other companies are funded for every organisation that makes a payment.

Risks can vary

Some factors include geography, sector and organisation size or revenue. The malicious group also plays a role in risk, with some groups targeting or avoiding certain regions for political reasons.

Language also played a role here, with communication problems making some targets.

Ransomware attacks are seasonal

Trend Micro said that tracking ransomware monetisation activities monthly showed that activity varies quite drastically across 12 months.

The months of January and the period between July and August showed significant dips in activity.

This is an invaluable insight for any organisation as it shows the optimal times for defenders to rebuild infrastructure and prepare for future threats.

The company said the key to stopping ransomware groups is to avoid making payments.

However, while opting for non-payment may be more attainable for more mature businesses with effective data recovery plans, for less mature organisations, there may be other options.

IOL Tech