Understanding ransomware attacks and how to ensure your business has a safeguarding strategy fit for today and tomorrow

A glowing blue padlock hovering above a circuitboard, to represent security and the attack surface.
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Ransomware is on the march, wreaking havoc across industries as one of the most dominant threats facing organizations today. Stories of high-profile attacks leading to hospitals being unable to function properly, broken supply chains, and six-figure ransom payments make the headlines almost daily.

No company, it seems, is safe. The million-dollar question faced by security leaders and IT teams is not if but when cybercriminals will come knocking at their digital doors to make them the next victims. Since the first known ransomware attack in 1989, Ransomware criminals have become more brazen, ruthless, and disruptive in pursuing bigger and bigger prizes for their malintent. 

With a nearly 40% annual increase in attacks globally, organizations face significant challenges in securing their networks. In the Asia-Pacific region, cybersecurity incidents surged by 22%, underscoring a growing threat landscape.

In 2023, the recovery cost for small firms averaged $205,400, with 84% reporting revenue loss post-attack. The rapid rise of ransomware is expected to cost $265 billion globally by 2031. Recovery is daunting; weeks or months may pass before systems are fully restored. This stark reality highlights the urgency of robust security measures and backup strategies to mitigate ransomware's impact.

Therefore, understanding the behavior patterns of ransomware and implementing preventive measures are crucial. This is the key for businesses to ensure data security and maintain uninterrupted operations.

Understanding and prevention

Ransomware has evolved into a sophisticated criminal scheme targeting vulnerable organizations. Understanding its typical attack path is key for security teams to protect systems.

Ransomware attacks commonly unfold across three key phases:

  1. Reconnaissance: Hackers gather intelligence on potential targets by identifying security weaknesses through phishing attempts, network scanning etc.
  2. System Infiltration: Attackers exploit vulnerabilities to gain entry, often using phishing lures or compromised websites to induce users to enable malware download.
  3. Encryption & Extortion: Upon gaining access, ransomware stealthily moves laterally through the system, collecting critical data and disabling backups before encrypting files. Hackers then demand ransom to decrypt data, threatening destruction, or exposure of files if organizations don't comply.

With attacks advancing at speed and scale, preventive vigilance is essential. Keeping systems and security tools current, avoiding unverified downloads, monitoring threat intelligence, and implementing cyber awareness training are all imperative.

However, the most crucial defense remains consistent, isolated data backups. This failsafe against incursions allows for resilience and quick restoration to maintain business operations. For organizations, secure backup serves as the last defense against ransomware disruption.

Best practice for ransomware recovery

Ransomware has matured into a formidable business model in recent years, launching pervasive and costly attacks across sectors. The 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report indicates a striking rate of 19 ransomware attacks every second, highlighting the critical need for fortified defenses. A solid recovery plan is essential for IT teams to mitigate attack impacts and quickly resume operations.

Complete prevention of cyber attacks is unfeasible; thus "recovery" becomes pivotal. Backups are acknowledged as one of the top strategies to counter ransomware, with frequent, secure backups pivotal for effective recovery, reducing downtime, and safeguarding against data loss.

Ransomware recovery is a complex task for affected organizations. Synology has distilled the process into seven key components of an effective recovery plan:

  1. Eliminate data silos: Modern enterprises use tools across multiple platforms, and overlooking any can invite ransomware risk. Comprehensive backup systems must encompass all data.
  2. Swift, efficient backups: With the growth of enterprise data and its applications, such as cloud storage and IoT, the volume of backup data increases. Enterprises require systems capable of quick, efficient backups to reduce Recovery Point Objective (RPO) intervals.
  3. Retain backups longer: With ransomware able to hide for 30-90 days, it's vital to securely store backup data for sufficient periods to ensure clean recovery and uninterrupted business.
  4. Regularly validate backup restorability: To prepare for unexpected ransomware attacks, organizations should frequently test their backup data's recoverability, ensuring reliability and swift recovery capabilities in a threat scenario.
  5. Secure, isolated backups: To counter ransomware's dual strategy of encrypting original data and deleting backups, enterprise backups must be secure, tamper-proof, and isolated from network or physical threats, ensuring always accessible, clean restoration data.
  6. Rapid, adaptable recovery: For organizations under ransomware attack, maintaining operations hinges on quick recovery and flexibility. It's essential to enable instant restoration to reduce the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and support cross-platform capabilities to counter single-platform ransomware threats effectively.
  7. Simplified, streamlined management: As IT complexity grows, so does the risk of human error in backup management—a potential ransomware exploit. Centralized management of backups, offering visibility and monitoring, is essential to ensure all systems function correctly and securely.

How Synology is helping enterprises with ransomware recovery

As ransomware threats surge, robust data protection is paramount. Millions are lost annually to these attacks, and organizations must be prepared to counter numerous threats with effective defense strategies. Synology stands at the forefront, offering thorough data protection to thwart such attacks. Their solutions ensure security, availability, and resilience, promoting quick recovery to maintain operational continuity and providing a secure buffer against cyber incursions.

As ransomware threats dramatically escalate, enterprises require robust data protection more than ever to ensure security, availability, and quick recovery.

Aligning with recommended best practices, Synology provides comprehensive data protection solutions tailored to combat ransomware. As organizations face rising cyberattacks, solutions like Synology's are crucial for establishing defensive layers and establishing a robust "Ransomware Recovery Plan" to seamlessly bolster defenses.

With data as a prime target for ransomware, adopting robust protection is key for resilience. Synology equips enterprises to secure their data, safeguard backups, and rapidly restore systems in the event of an attack.

To learn more about how Synology can provide an all-encompassing solution to help combat the threat of ransomware, visit the Synology website.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.