The File Data Factor in Ransomware Defense: 3 Best Practices

Aside from the pandemic, ransomware has become one of the gravest threats to the global economy.  It is no longer a matter of “if” an organization is going to be attacked but “when,” according to Gartner.

The research firm predicts that 75% of organizations will face one or more attacks by 2025. National Security Institute found the average ransomware payout was $200,000 in 2020, up from just $5,000 two years ago as ransomware gangs resort to more aggressive tactics to get what they want.

Large-scale attacks on enterprises—the latest being one against Accenture—are creating regular headlines. The U.S. is the largest region for such attacks, and ransomware accounted for 30% of all U.S.-based cyberattacks in 2020, more than double the rate globally.

Why is ransomware worse now?

The word among security experts is that the Covid-19 pandemic, with its resulting lockdowns and work-from-home mandates, created an enticing new opportunity for hackers.

Employees sometimes use insecure personal devices and networks, accessing desktops over the easily-compromised Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) software and connected by VPNs which aren’t always configured or secured properly. This has led to a perfect storm of vulnerability at even the largest corporations with massive IT budgets and large teams in place. Ransomware attacks are also becoming more sophisticated.

Ransomware software is now attacking in multiple stages, from penetrating the network, to stealing credentials, to attacking the backup systems. Over this entire time period, which can take weeks to months, companies typically don’t know they are under attack until finally someone suddenly notices files becoming encrypted and unusable.

How does this affect data storage?

Ransomware players are attacking all IT infrastructure, not just servers and applications. In 2021, the network attached storage (NAS) appliance maker QNAP alerted its customers that eCh0raix ransomware was attacking its NAS devices, especially those with weak passwords, as reported in this ransomware paper by ESET.

This is a disastrous prospect, since data growth is…