Reducing Ransomware Risk with MDR and Email Security
The threat of a ransomware attack is nothing new, but similar to technology, ransomware attacks continue to become more advanced, increasing a company’s risk of a breach. Ransomware has become the top concern for CISOs and organizations around the world, dominating cybersecurity trends over the last five years. The increased concern is fueled by a new ransomware-as-a-service marketplace on the dark web, with crypto-currency used for extortion.
According to security researchers, between February 2019 and March 2020, ransomware attacks increased by 148%. In the first half of 2021 alone, ransomware attacks rose an additional 93%.
All organizations recognize the need to protect against threats to user inboxes and prevent threat lateral movement throughout the company. With over 90% of cyberattacks beginning with a spear-phishing email, according to Trend Micro, organizations need protection from and visibility into these attacks, but mid-sized organizations often don’t have the time, budget, or staff to implement a mature security operations (SecOps) program.
How do Email Attacks Happen?
With most companies having experienced some form of digital transformation or adaptation due to remote work and the skills shortage, phishing has become a common discussion topic within workplaces. But, how do these email attacks happen?
“There are many ransomware actors and many types of ransomware attacks, ranging from highly skilled attackers focused on individual targets, to lower-skilled operators who use a general ‘spray and pray’ approach.”— Sophos State of Ransomware, April 2021
Attackers use multiple methods and techniques to launch an email attack campaign. If thousands of messages are sent, it only takes one victim to allow the attacker to gain access to significant information or request a ransom. These phishing emails manipulate victims by creating a sense of urgency in the message, which can often cloud judgment. The sense of urgency mixed with the same phrases, logos, and email signatures used internally can cause a member of a team to easily fall victim to a phishing attack.
Who is Affected?
All companies are at some risk of being affected by a ransomware attack. With the recent move to remote work, mid-sized companies with smaller teams are at a higher risk due to a lack of bandwidth and budget.
According to a 2021 ransomware survey by Sophos, small to mid-sized businesses (100-1,000 users) paid out an average of $107,674 USD in ransom. These companies may pay less than larger organizations, but they also have fewer financial resources to pay out ransom demands. To add to this pain point, the same study showed that “only 65% of the encrypted data was restored after the ransom was paid” (The State of Ransomware 2021).
“The U.S. is a very popular target with cybercriminals due to the perceived potential to demand high ransom payments and just over half – 51% – of US respondents report being hit last year.”— Sophos State of Ransomware, April 2021
How to Minimize Threats
There are three key strategies to minimize security threats, especially through email: prevention, detection, and response. Within each strategy, there are key actions to assist every step of the way.
Even though ransomware is common knowledge in today’s digital environment, these attacks still seem to take some companies by surprise. Often, these organizations fall victim to these attacks because they lack some basic preventative security hygiene measures. Preventative security involves protecting the integrity of an organization’s data, the enterprise, the cloud, and assets through Data Governance & Backups, Training & Assessments, Email Security & Other Security Technologies, Vulnerability Management, and Identity and Access Management Methods. Mid-sized businesses should look to work with an MDR provider that can assist in ransomware prevention by offering rapid, coordinated, and automated services to stop attacks from achieving their final objective or to minimize the overall impact an attack has on an organization.
Threat detection is about understanding and analyzing the types of threats that are targeting business systems, networks, and devices. Detection technologies help to prevent the delivery of a ransomware payload, by looking for both known and unknown threats. Companies can benefit by implementing endpoint Detection and Security, Threat Hunting, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligent (AI).
A comprehensive ransomware readiness approach also includes response and remediation strategies to address security incidents that are underway to minimize an attack’s impact and gather critical attack information. Within response, organizations should implement Incident Response, Attack Planning and Tabletop Exercises, Response Technologies and Services, and Remediation. MDR providers can often assist with these implementations, further providing confidence in a company’s ability to respond to cyber attacks, especially via phishing.
Importance of MDR + Email Security
Managed Detection and Response helps organizations in a variety of ways, improving visibility across security operations programs. MDR providers can correlate and detect attacks across millions of transactions. Today more than ever, mid-sized businesses need speed, agility, and adaptability to keep up with increasing threats and changes in the threat landscape. An effective security operations program requires 24/7/365 monitoring using an analytics-driven SIEM.
MDR providers can augment the in-house team with security experts and expertise to help staff & retain security operations center (SOC) resources, utilize existing solutions to improve ROI by maximizing the value of your existing tools, and optimize security investments and gain network effects from wider customer base & threat research.
With the rise in phishing and ransomware threats, email security is imperative for organizations to pay attention to. Advanced email security can prevent phishing attacks, a top threat vector for ransomware, stop malicious attachments from reaching user inboxes, and quarantine suspicious emails for review. These additional security measures assist with improving a company’s overall security maturity, significantly reducing the threat of ransomware attacks and other phishing/spear phishing-based attacks.
Increasing ransomware attacks and their evolving sophistication make MDR services more critical than ever. The technology and staffing requirements needed to run in-house cybersecurity operations make it infeasible for most businesses, rendering MDR services necessary to successfully secure any business environment. Advanced email security allows businesses to have more confidence in their security posture as ransomware and other threats via phishing attacks increase.
Selecting an MDR company like Deepwatch, a company that detects and responds to ransomware threats, improves security posture to mitigate future risk, and integrates advanced email security , is critical to improving cybersecurity operations for mid-sized businesses.
Deepwatch MDR Essentials Information
Deepwatch MDR Essentials is designed to meet the needs of mid-sized organizations, providing critical detection and response capabilities that enable even the smallest security team to effectively and efficiently protect their organization—wherever they may be. Deepwatch MDR Essentials provides the benefits of round-the-clock security with an always-on SOC managed by a team of security experts—for less than the cost of hiring one analyst.