The CryptoLocker ransomware attack was one of the most virulent malware attacks. It propagated as an attachment to what appeared as a legitimate e-mail from a well-known company or institution. Upon opening the attachment, CryptoLocker would encrypt data and then demand a ransom be paid by a certain date, in exchange for decryption.
If the deadline passed without payment, the decryption key would be deleted. Even upon payment, the user has no guarantee that his or her data would be decrypted.
Tales From the Crypto
If your customer gets caught in a ransomware attack like CryptoLocker, they could be out cash, their private information could be disclosed, and they would have no way of knowing if their files would ever be decrypted.
Ransomware is a malicious software—or malware—"that is designed to damage and destroy computers and computer systems,” according to Cisco. The most common ways that malware spreads are by viruses, worms, and Trojans.
Once installed, largely via spam or phishing emails, malware like CryptoLocker can attach to legitimate code and lay “dormant” in popular business applications gathering critical data. Or they could replicate across your customers’ networks, giving threat actors easy access to sensitive data.
Fortunately, with the right antivirus protection, your customers can better detect and prevent the spread of malware.
Traditional vs. Next-Generation Antivirus Solutions
Some dismiss antivirus protection as obsolete. Traditional antivirus tools rely mostly on detecting signatures to identify and prevent malware from spreading. They can be difficult to configure and manage and they sometimes miss advanced threats. If your customer is still using traditional signature-based tools, they may want to consider updating to next-generation antivirus protection.
More advanced antivirus solutions (or capabilities) are often used in enterprise environments as part of a defense-in-depth endpoint security strategy. These solutions continuously monitor all file activities and detect malware through anomalies in behaviors or patterns associated with known malware. With this kind of visibility, threats can quickly be contained before they can spread.
Attack Vectors Your Customers Probably Don’t Consider
While the Web is the primary gateway for malware attacks, cunning cybercriminals also look for entry points through other, less obvious—but potentially lethal—access points. With the increase in remote workers, these often-forgotten endpoints require greater attention.
Some 28 percent of endpoints have outdated or missing antivirus protection, according to one report. Add unknowing or malicious employees, shadow IT applications, devices with fixed firmware, unpatched IoT devices, and especially now, home routers, networks, and devices with subpar security standards, and cybercriminals see veritable goldmines for their activities.
The Growing Cost of Breaches and the Rise of Incidents
The cost of a data breach continues to spiral upward. The 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report says that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million with the U.S. leading the way at $8.64 million. And the average time to identify and contain a breach is 280 days.
While malware declined steadily as a percentage of breaches over the last five years, reports Verizon, it continues to remain an easy, “smash and grab” attack tool. In terms of incidents, however, malware—and, in particular, ransomware—has seen a steady increase as cybercriminals shift from a scattergun approach to a more targeted approach.
How You can Help your Customer
The question is…what are you doing to shore up your customers’ networks against the next threat and keep them from becoming a statistic? Better yet, what can you do?
Companies like Tech Data routinely vet antivirus and other security solution providers so that you can trust that you’re working with an established expert. This expert can help recommend the right security solutions for your customers and provide guidance on how best to keep their networks healthy and protected.
About the Author
Alisha Robinson is a Marketing Communications and Content Strategist for the Security Solutions department at Tech Data. She is responsible for developing content, marketing campaign creation and execution; brand recognition and engagement for Tech Data’s Cyber Range. In addition, she manages the coordination and execution of dozens of Security channel events a year. Specializing in storytelling, Alisha excels in utilizing various communications – blogs, landing pages, web copy and various print media to facilitate brand awareness and strategy. Alisha has been with Tech Data for 10 years and brings more than 15 years of professional experience in communications and the tech industry.