Ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat, targeting users of all types —from the home user to the corporate network. On an average, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016. This is a 300 -percent increase over the approximately 1,000 attacks per day seen in 2015. There are very effective prevention and response actions that can significantly mitigate the risk posed to your organization. Ransomware targets home users, businesses, and government networks and can lead to temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or proprietary information, disruption to regular operations, financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and potential harm to an organization’s reputation. Ransomware may direct a user to click on a link to pay a ransom; however, the link may be malicious and could lead to additional malware infections.
Antivirus vendors even admit a different approach is needed to stop unknown attacks. But trying to stay just a step ahead is not enough to stop sophisticated attacks.
Our next-generation endpoint and server protection uses several layers of attack prevention, including behavior detection and machine learning, to stop attacks that other vendors simply can’t. It also provides unparalleled threat visibility at a minimum system impact.
Ransomware is a form of malware that targets your critical data and systems for the purpose of extortion. Ransomware is frequently delivered through spearphishing emails. After the user has been locked out of the data or system, the cyber actor demands a ransom payment. After receiving payment, the cyber actor will purportedly provide an avenue to the victim to regain access to the system or data. Recent iterations target enterprise end users, making awareness and training a critical preventive measure.
Self-Assessment question to Prevent Attacks
A commitment to cyber hygiene and best practices is critical to protecting your networks. Here are some questions you may want to ask of your organization to help prevent ransomware attacks:
Your NGEP solution needs to address six core pillars that, when taken together, can detect and prevent the most advanced attack methods at every stage of their lifecycle:
Looking for known threats won’t protect against variants or unknown attacks, but coupling it with additional security layers can pre-emptively stop known threats before they can execute on endpoints. However, instead of relying on a single vendor’s intelligence, make sure your NGEP uses a vast collection of reputation services to proactively block threats and bad sources. Be sure the NGEP vendor uses data from the cloud, indexing files for passive scanning or selective scanning to keep it lightweight, instead of performing resource-intensive system scans.
Hackers often use exploits to target code-level vulnerabilities so they can breach systems and execute malware. Drive-by downloads are a common vector for carrying out exploit attacks. NGEP should provide anti-exploit capabilities to protect against both application and memory-based attacks. This approach is much more reliable in detecting unknown attacks since the exploitation techniques themselves are not as easy to change or modify the shellcode, encoder, dropper and payload components used in malware.
Your NGEP must be able to detect and block unknown malware and targeted attacks - even those that do not exhibit any static indicators of compromise. This involves dynamic behavior analysis - the real-time monitoring and analysis of application and process behavior based on low-level instrumentation of OS activities and operations, including memory, disk, registry, network and more. Since many attacks hook into system processes and begin applications to mask their activity, the ability to inspect execution and assemble its true execution context is key. This is most effective when performed on the device regardless of whether it is on or offline (i.e. to protect even against USB stick attacks.)
Detecting threats is necessary, but with detection only, many attacks go unresolved for days, weeks, or months. Automated and timely mitigation must be an integral part of NGEP. Mitigation options should be policy-based and flexible enough to cover a wide range of use cases, such as quarantining a file, killing a specific process, disconnecting the infected machine from the network, or even completely shutting it down. Quick mitigation during inception stages of the attack lifecycle will minimize damage and speed remediation.
During execution, malware often creates, modifies, or deletes system file and registry settings and changes configuration settings. These changes, or remnants that are left behind, can cause system malfunction or instability. NGEP must be able to restore an endpoint to its pre-malware, trusted state, while logging what changed and what was successfully remediated.
Since no security technology claims to be 100% effective, the ability to provide real-time endpoint forensics and visibility is a must. Clear and timely visibility into malicious activity throughout an organization allows you to quickly assess the scope of an attack and take appropriate responses. This requires a clear, real-time audit trail of what happened on an endpoint during an attack and the ability to search for indicators of compromise.
Ransomware protection can be installed on following operating systems.