Businesses More at Risk for Ransomware During Holiday Season

According to Darktrace, an information technology company specializing in cybersecurity, ransomware attacks have increased by almost one-third during the past three holiday seasons, compared to the monthly average.

As 2021 has been a record year for malware attacks, Darktrace predicts ransomware will surge even more. Learn how your businesses can prepare a defense against cybercriminals.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that exfiltrates valuable information from a computer. The attacker encrypts a user’s files and demands a ransom to restore access. A phishing email is the most common way to initiate a ransomware attack. The goal of the phony email is to gain access to data like the victim’s login credentials.

A fraudster may do more than demand money for the decryption key. He or she may threaten to release stolen data and further intimidate the victim with phone calls. As such, it’s critical to have both email and network security to help prevent these attacks.

Why a Holiday Season Spike?

As stated by Darktrace, the period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve sees the biggest increase in ransomware attacks – when most cybersecurity professionals are off for the holidays. Yet businessowners need not panic; there are other solutions to keep your networks, computers and data!

“Business leaders should know that there is available technology that can identify and respond to the initial warning signs of ransomware before attackers can hold critical systems hostage, even when human security teams are out of office,” said Justin Fier, Director of Cyber Intelligence and Analytics.

How Organization Can Avoid Ransomware

According to the IBM Cost of a Data Breach 2021 report, ransomware attacks are more expensive than the average data breach, costing an average of $4.62 million.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommend the following network best practices to reduce risk:

  • Make sure all employees are trained on cybersecurity protective measures
    • Do not click on suspicious links or open attachments  
    • Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication
  • Use a Virtual Private Network, which provides a secure internet connection  
  • Update software and operating systems; run regular scans for vulnerabilities
  • Ensure devices are properly configured
  • Make an offline backup of your data
  • Have an incident response plan
  • Obtain comprehensive Cyber Liability coverage

The need for enhanced email and network security is greater than ever before. As a baseline, businesses should enable multi-factor authentication for remote access and internal

privileged information. Endpoint Detection and Response cyber technology can also block and alert companies of breach attempts.

Do you own a business? Make your company more secure this holiday season with Cyber Liability Insurance. Contact a HUB/Ion Insurance agent for a quote today.