Ransomware Attacks: The Risks of a Poor Response

Reposted from the
original article
Ironwood Cyber
Ironwood Cyber
July 22, 2023

Over the last few years, ransomware has grown into one of the largest cyber threats facing businesses today. These attacks can cause enormous damage to an organization’s operability, data, and reputation — not to mention the costly financial repercussions.

Although many resources have been written on the topic of ransomware prevention, there hasn’t been enough emphasis on the importance of responding to ransomware attacks. Cybersecurity leaders are now faced with the harsh reality that it’s less a matter of if but when they will be attacked. Putting together a comprehensive response plan is also important because the damage doesn’t end with the initial attack. It’s the aftermath where an additional and significant amount of harm can occur — often as a result of inadequate planning and poor response.

In this post, we break down the risks of a poor ransomware attack response and share what a truly comprehensive response plan looks like.

The Post-Attack Landscape: A Product of Poor Planning

Although taking preemptive measures against ransomware attacks are crucial, many organizations fall short in understanding that their response to an attack can often yield more severe consequences than the initial assault. This lapse typically stems from insufficient or poorly constructed post-attack procedures, leading organizations to make rash decisions, such as abrupt system shutdowns or service blocks.

Consider, for example, a financial institution that is hit with a ransomware attack. In a panicked response, the organization decides to shut down all systems to prevent the ransomware from spreading. However, this abrupt shutdown not only halts all financial transactions but also disrupts customer access to their accounts, creating a ripple effect of operational dysfunction and customer dissatisfaction.

As you can see, this kind of knee-jerk reaction can unintentionally disrupt critical services, spawning additional operational, financial, and reputational challenges. Furthermore, the impact on mission-critical applications, services, and systems can lead to significant business downtime and loss of customer trust.

Nevertheless, organizations can avoid falling into this reactive spiral. An organization that has a detailed, tested incident response plan in place can respond to a ransomware attack swiftly and efficiently.

Truly Comprehensive Planning Requires Intelligence-Driven Defense

While it's impossible to guarantee absolute immunity against these attacks, there are numerous controls that organizations can put in place to mitigate their impacts across the cyber kill chain. That’s why truly comprehensive planning should go beyond preserving evidence, notifying relevant stakeholders, and initiating recovery operations - it should also include architecting the environment to stop or slow the spread of ransomware. This way, organizations with critical services do not need to shut themselves down in order to prevent further damage.A powerful way to architect your environment this way is by employing an intelligence-driven defense and leveraging the Cyber Kill Chain methodology. This methodology contains seven steps for organizations to thwart the adversary before they achieve their objective. This gives organizations an advantage: the attacker must succeed at every step to execute their plan, while the organization needs just one successful intervention to derail the attack.

Enhancing Cyber Defenses with Ironwood Cyber

Ironwood Cyber’s Intelligence-Driven Defense Assessment with ransomware simulation technology offers organizations a chance to understand the resilience of their defenses against simulated ransomware attacks. This intelligence-driven defense analysis measures an organization's performance against the Cyber Kill Chain, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of your existing tools and processes.

This method of assessment provides invaluable insights, allowing organizations to abandon ineffective strategies and invest in those that actually yield results. Ultimately, this leads to smarter spending on cybersecurity resources, optimizing defense structures while freeing up funds for the most effective solutions.

Secure Your Supply Chain with Ironwood Cyber

Securing your supply chain against cyber threats takes everyday work. Founded by two former Lockheed Martin Fellows, Ironwood Cyber is a team of seasoned cybersecurity experts with decades of experience protecting our nation's most critical defense weapon systems. Our Ironwood Cyber Rx™ services can help your organization establish processes, user awareness, and provide continuous assessment on your cybersecurity health.

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