What SMBs Should Know About Ransomware  

June 24, 2022

Ransomware is becoming increasingly prevalent as cybercriminals seek more complex and difficult-to-prevent means of conducting cyberattacks. Cyberattacks impact enterprises of all sizes, and a successful ransomware assault can easily bring a business to its knees. Over the next five years, the frequency of ransomware attacks on governments, corporations, individuals and gadgets will increase exponentially. Worryingly, by 2031, the annual cost of ransomware damage is expected to reach $265 billion, with a ransomware attack targeting a firm every two seconds. This makes ransomware the fastest-growing type of cybercrime.  

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Why Are Ransomware Attacks Seemingly Unavoidable?  

According to Gartner, ransomware will have infected 75% of all enterprises by 2025. In 2020 and 2021, ransomware assaults more than doubled, increasing by 92.7% year-over-year. However, the consequences of ransomware can be even more severe than the assault itself. Firms could face economic disruption, reputational loss, damaged consumer trust, forced layoffs and inconceivable repair costs in addition to a hefty ransom.  

As illicit trade grows more industrialized, hacking has become more efficient. Phishing, code creation, attack deployment, data collection and aggregation, and other illegal operations have become criminal specialties. Due to this efficiency and greater complexity in phishing and attack deployment, hackers have broadened their target demographic significantly.  

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There is No Such Thing as a Target or Business too Small 

Threat actors are well aware of the vulnerabilities of small and medium-sized firms, who lack the financial and technical capacity to build strong security solutions. Hackers are focusing their efforts on small and medium-sized enterprises that store sensitive personal information on their customers, suppliers, workers, students and others.  

Previously, hackers largely concentrated their efforts on larger organizations that obtained sensitive data such as credit card information, social security numbers and financial information. However, contrary to popular belief, ransomware does not just target giant corporations and governments. In 2021, 82% of SMBs will have been attacked and 75% of SMBs infected with ransomware will not survive more than a week.  

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Don’t Think ‘Ransomware Attacks Will Not Target My Organization’  

In most situations, small firms do not take cybersecurity seriously. Many companies assume they are “too small” to be targeted by cybercriminals. Unfortunately, if an issue does arise, small businesses fail to grasp the gravity of the breach until it is too late. Remember, hackers are not prejudiced. Regardless of your company’s size or industry, threat actors will go for your data if they see value in it.  

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have detected a shift in criminal behavior from high-profile hacking to targeting midsized businesses to evade public scrutiny, with high-profile indictments fueling this trend. Attackers believe that SMBs are much more inclined to pay a lower fee for the decryption key to release their files than spending on restoring the system themselves. These strikes are also successful since smaller firms have no time to waste. Weeks spent debugging systems and attempting to recover information and programs can lead to financial catastrophe.  

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Payment of Ransom Money Just Fuels More Ransomware Attacks  

The financial consequences of a ransomware assault don’t just end with the payment of the ransom. In fact, making a ransom payment could be the beginning of a company’s financial woes. When confronted with a ransomware assault, most organizations prefer to negotiate with the perpetrators or pay the ransom. On the face of it, paying the extortionists may appear to be a better and less expensive option than enduring lengthy and costly cleanup and recovery. However, for the second year in a row, research has indicated that more than 80% of enterprises who paid a ransom experienced reoccurring ransomware attacks, suggesting that paying a ransom isn’t as simple as it seems.  

Paying the extortionists may get a company out of the jam it’s in immediately, but it just leads to more attacks down the road, sometimes even from the same gang. CBS News reported that an estimated 80% of organizations that previously pay a ransom demand are exposed to a second attack. If you’re an easy mark, the bad guys won’t hesitate to try for another fat payoff. The bad guys also already know their way around a company’s security, making the job easy. The UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) blog featured a tale about an unnamed organization that was hit by ransomware and opted to pay off the bad guys. The victim forked over more than $6 million for a decryptor in a ransomware hit. But less than two weeks later, the same attacker returned and re-deployed their ransomware successfully a second time, leaving the company still in trouble and $6 million poorer.    

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Leverage Artificial Intelligence to Repel Ransomware  

By 2027, the value of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity is estimated to reach $46 billion. AI is well-suited to identifying the most sophisticated cybersecurity threats out there, including ransomware. AI can also better identify different types of hackers and analyze the characteristics of various hackers who have previously utilized ransomware. By automating threat detection and responding faster than traditional software-driven techniques, AI can help organizations stay one step ahead of the bad guys.  

The many uses of AI in security show its versatility and value as an asset in the fight against cybercrime. Artificial intelligence eliminates duplication by utilizing a system that does not recognize the idea of burnout, thereby automating monotonous processes and learning from any data that enters the system. AI allows organizations to transfer massive volumes of data without fear of a threat actor lurking in the background. In security, a predictive AI algorithm can identify suspicious activities, and produce a warning in real time as well as help IT professionals forecast dangers before they become problems.  

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Choose the Right Tool to Beat Ransomware

Graphus’ AI-powered email security is an intelligent defense against ransomware threats. Compared to traditional protection or an SEG, automated email security prevents 40% more phishing messages from reaching an employee’s inbox. To further protect against the deluge of harmful phishing emails organizations regularly receive, Graphus AI also collects risk data to analyze each company’s unique communication pattern by adding a triple layer of security.   

  • Before allowing incoming messages into employee inboxes, TrustGraph evaluates them using more than 50 distinct data points. TrustGraph learns from each analysis it performs, storing the information in its knowledge base to improve your security and learn without human intervention.  
  • When an employee clicks on a new communication channel, EmployeeShield displays a bright, prominent box, reminding them to be cautious when dealing with unexpected messages. Each employee may contribute to corporate security by classifying a communication as genuine or malicious with a single click.  
  • Phish911 rounds off the three-tiered security by making it simple for employees to report any questionable communications to the admin. Emails are immediately erased from everyone’s inbox if an employee notices suspicious conduct.   

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