The Rise of Ransomware and Its Business Impact

“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, thereby damaging your bottom line and reputation.

Businesses are faced with a difficult decision when faced with ransomware: 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 as a result of the evolution of ransomware to target more complex operations. Hackers, however, do not discriminate against smaller companies. Attackers are aware that small businesses may not always have the resources to protect themselves against their nefarious actions.

Securing Sensitive Data with File level Encryption

By harnessing the power of File-level encryption, organizations realize the utmost level of security, as each file is encrypted individually. This makes 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, by keeping the encryption key separate from the encrypted files, the risk of losing sensitive data to ransomware attacks is significantly reduced.

How Ransomware Attacks Work

In the case of Ransomware stealing data where it is more of a shaming issue, with the attackers releasing data into the public domain, causing customers to lose trust in an organization and leading to losing customers and 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 that was truly 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 disrupting operations and 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 as without the application on their machine, the data is useless, protecting the organization from losing customers and damaging 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, including:

  • The symmetric encryption algorithm AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is popular and offers high protection for individual files.
  • PGP encryption: PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is a well-known encryption technique that ensures the authenticity and confidentiality of certain files.
  • RSA encryption: RSA is an asymmetric encryption method that encrypts and decrypts data using a public key and a private key. In order to increase security, RSA encryption is frequently used in conjunction with AES encryption.
  • File and disk encryption are available with VeraCrypt, a free and open-source encryption program.
  • Full disk encryption for Windows is available using the DiskCryptor encryption program, which is free and open-source.
  • Encryption using BitLocker: BitLocker is a complete disk encryption technology that is integrated into Windows and available to all users.

Best practices for implementing file level encryption

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Secure sensitive and important data: Pay extra care to encrypting documents including personal information and financial information.
  4. Use secure, encrypted storage solutions, such as external hard drives or online cloud storage, to store encrypted files safely.
  5. Maintain encryption keys in a secure location to prevent loss or theft, such as a hardware security module or encrypted storage.
  6. Train your staff: Staff members should get instruction on the benefits of file level encryption and its appropriate application. Make certain they understand the importance of keeping encryption keys and encrypted files safe.

Implementing file level encryption is an essential step in protecting sensitive data because it encrypts specific files rather than just the entire storage device, file level encryption is crucial for protecting sensitive data against ransomware assaults. Even if ransomware is used to break into the system, this makes it harder for attackers to access and steal the data.

Even if ransomware is able to encrypt files, it will only be able to do so with file level encryption, protecting the sensitive data contained in the encrypted files. Organizations can also add an additional degree of protection by granting access to encrypted data on a per-user basis when using file level encryption.

In conclusion

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.

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