Ransomware: Tech Industry's Cyber Crime Wave

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By Travelers
15 Minutes

Chapter #1  Chapter #2  Chapter #3  Chapter #4  Chapter #5  Chapter #6  Chapter #7   Full Webinar Video

Ransomware has been described as the new business model for cybercrime - making up 41% of cyber insurance claims in the first half of 2020.* Although ransomware attacks are industry-agnostic, the technology industry is especially vulnerable given the nature of their business.​

We explore tech companies’ real-life ransomware stories, discuss ways to avoid becoming the next victim, and what should be in place to accelerate recovery if a breach occurs.

* Coalition Cyber Insurance Claims Report 2020​​​

Chapter #1

How Ransomware Has Evolved

Chase Cunningham, a cybersecurity professional, explains that while ransomware has been around for nearly 30 years, the tactics have evolved with advancements in technology. “The adversary has figured out how to leverage the very same resources that we use for business to conduct ransomware attacks,” Cunningham says. Rather than an external threat, such as a floppy disk sent by mail in the 1990s, today’s attacks often use the installed operating components of a system to do something that it wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Chapter #2

Ransomware Business Is Booming

Ransomware attacks have grown exponentially, and business is booming for cyber thieves, according to Cunningham. “The spread of this and the growth and ease of use for the adversary is really what people should be concerned about,” explains Cunningham. Ransomware attacks often follow common attack patterns, starting with gaining initial access through a vulnerable system, weak application settings or a Remote Desk Protocol (RDP) attack.

Chapter #3

COVID-19 Impact on Your Network

The start of the global pandemic and rise of remote working in March 2020 effectively destroyed the perimeter that protected companies from cyberattacks, according to Cunningham. Employees working from home with a compromised asset, unpatched machine or bad username and password can potentially compromise a network. With more people working from home than ever before, it’s more critical than ever to watch for indicators of malicious activity so companies can respond quickly.

Chapter #4

Zero Trust = Never Trust, Always Verify

The Zero Trust framework to defending against ransomware attacks requires “never trusting, always verifying,” explains Cunningham. Zero Trust extends a company’s ecosystem from the data itself to looking at areas where potential compromises might be introduced, such as the people who may have access to the network, the types of networks themselves, the devices used (including IoT and BYOD) and the workloads.

Chapter #5

Protecting Against Ransomware

With the rise in ransomware attacks, the importance of good cyber hygiene continues to be critical, according to Kirstin Simonsen, Cyber Lead, Global Technology at Travelers. “Identify key risk factors, put a plan in place, and test that plan,” says Simonsen. Companies can take proactive security measures, including requiring multifactor authentication (MFA) across the organization, considering an endpoint detection system, restricting access to critical data and disabling unnecessary software controls.

Chapter #6

Ransomware’s Evolution to Extortion

Sean Hoar, Partner and Chair, Data Privacy & Security Practice, at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, describes the new extortion measures that cyber thieves are taking during ransomware exploits, including going public about the breach. “If you’re not communicating with them, they’re going to start to tweet about the fact that they’ve stolen data or start calling employees or customers,” explains Hoar. Having cyber insurance help companies have access to the right resources, including breach counsel and a forensic investigation firm.

Chapter #7

Three Things You Can Do to Help Protect Your Company

Cunningham lists three things that companies can do to help protect against the risks of being compromised by ransomware: move to a remote browser, do application whitelisting and mandate MFA. Those three things will help make companies a less vulnerable target for ransomware attacks.

Ransomware: Tech Industry’s Cyber Crime Wave [Full Webinar Replay]

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