“The economic downturn (caused by energy prices, inflation, sanctions, etc.) will lead more people to poverty, which always translates to increased criminality (cyber or otherwise), and we know ransomware to be extremely profitable.”

– James Range, President of White Rock Security Group

In 2024, Business losses from this type of malware will continue to skyrocket. Ransomware steals your data until you pay a ransom to get your sensitive data back. Otherwise, hackers will shame your organization by threatening to release sensitive customer data, causing customers to abandon your service and damaging your bottom line and reputation.

When faced with ransomware, businesses face a difficult decision: pay the attackers or risk losing access to their data. Many businesses decide to compensate the hackers, but sometimes, even after paying the ransom, owners still do not get access to their data.

Hacker activities have changed due to ransomware’s evolution to target more complex operations.

Hackers, however, do not discriminate against smaller companies. Attackers know that small businesses may not always have the resources to protect themselves against their nefarious actions.

Securing Sensitive Data

By harnessing the power of file-level encryption, organizations realize the utmost level of security. Each file is encrypted individually, making it unreadable without the encryption key.

In a ransomware scenario where the hacker gains access to the file system, they will only see encrypted files, which are useless without the encryption key.

In this framework, keeping the encryption key separate from the encrypted files significantly reduces the risk of losing sensitive data to ransomware attacks.

How Ransomware Attacks Work

In the case of Ransomware stealing data, it is more of a shaming issue. The attackers release data into the public domain, causing customers to lose trust in an organization and leading to lost customers and a damaged reputation. This is where seamless file encryption shines, as the data stolen is unreadable.

Here are a few of the high-profile ransomware attacks in recent years:

  • WannaCry – A global attack that affected approximately 200,000 people in 150 countries, including hospitals, banks, and governments.
  • NotPetya – A cyberattack, a deceptive ransomware attack intended to cause havoc.
  • Ryuk – A ransomware attack that targeted big businesses, especially those in the printing and healthcare sectors.

The impact of ransomware attacks on businesses and individuals

The cost of recovery and the resulting downtime in the aftermath of a ransomware attack, as well as the reputational damage, can be 10 to 15 times more than the ransom.

– Gartner Research

A ransomware attack can cause significant data and system loss for enterprises, as well as disrupt operations and cause productivity to plummet. Financial losses and damage to an organization’s reputation are sure to result from this. Much of the time, businesses are compelled to pay the attackers ito recover access to their data.

An individual’s personal and sensitive information, including bank records and identification documents, may be lost as a result of a ransomware assault. Identity theft and financial fraud may result from this.

The effects of a ransomware assault can also be emotionally and mentally taxing because victims are frequently required to negotiate with the attackers and worry about the strike’s possible repercussions.

File-level encryption: how it works and the benefits

Instead of encrypting a whole hard disk or storage device, file-level encryption encrypts specific files or folders. In terms of defending against ransomware attacks, this sort of encryption has several advantages:

Data security: Seamless file encryption throws a wrench into the plans of attackers stealing sensitive data. Without the application on their machine, the data is useless, protecting the organization from losing customers and damaging its reputation.

Access control: File-level encryption makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to access and encrypt sensitive data by allowing administrators to manage who has access to it.

Better security: By encrypting specific files, file-level encryption can supplement existing security precautions like firewalls and antivirus software, offering a layered defense against ransomware attacks.

Compliance: File-level encryption may be necessary to comply with laws like HIPAA and PCI-DSS in some sectors and for specific categories of data.

File-level encryption offers an additional layer of security for organizations and people to fend off ransomware attacks. It is more difficult for ransomware to compromise significant amounts of data when individual files are encrypted, and it makes data recovery simpler in the event of an attack.

The different types of file-level encryption

There are a variety of file-level encryption options available. Here are some examples.

Encryption OptionDescription
The symmetric encryption algorithm AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)Popular and offers high protection for individual files.
PGP encryption (Pretty Good Privacy)It is popular and offers high protection for individual files.
RSA encryptionRSA is an asymmetric encryption method that encrypts and decrypts data using public and private keys. RSA encryption is frequently used in conjunction with AES encryption to increase security.
File and disk encryptionThese are available with VeraCrypt, a free and open-source encryption program.
Full disk encryption for WindowsThis is available using the DiskCryptor encryption program, which is free and open-source.
Encryption using BitLockerBitLocker is a complete disk encryption technology integrated into Windows and available to all users.

Best practices for implementation

By using file-level encryption, organizations and individuals can gain an additional level of security. The top suggestions for using file-level encryption are the ones listed below:

Choose a reliable encryption system: Choose a file-level encryption system from a reputable manufacturer with a proven track record. Consider factors including the degree of security provided, usability, and compatibility with other systems.

Create a backup: Before implementing file-level encryption, create a copy of all important data. This will ensure that the data can be recovered if there are any issues with the encryption process.

Secure sensitive and important data: Pay extra care to encrypt documents, including personal information and financial information.

Use secure, encrypted storage solutions, such as external hard drives or online cloud storage, to store encrypted files safely.

Maintain encryption keys in a secure location to prevent loss or theft, such as a hardware security module or encrypted storage.

Train your staff: Staff members should receive instruction on the benefits of file-level encryption and its appropriate application. Ensure they understand the importance of keeping encryption keys and encrypted files safe.

Implementing file-level encryption is essential in protecting sensitive data because it encrypts specific files rather than just the entire storage device.

It is also crucial for protecting sensitive data against ransomware assaults. Even if ransomware is used to break into the system, it is harder for attackers to access and steal the data.

Even if ransomware can encrypt files, it can only do so with file-level encryption, protecting the sensitive data contained in the encrypted files.

Organizations can also add additional protection by granting access to encrypted data on a per-user basis when using file-level encryption.

There are numerous methods of file level encryption that each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The specific needs and requirements of the person or business will choose the encryption technology to use.