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Reducing Ransomware Attack Agents

NotPetya, WannaCry and BadRabbit

Well you understand the above are the names of ransomware that have so far led to billions of dollar bill losses, which are spread by hundreds of organizations, public and private, in more than 60 countries.

Hospitals have to remove patients from emergency sites, bank customers who can not access their money, and large shipping ports that can not load or unload cargo - these are just a few of the results achieved by holding to "hijack" the data required for businesses. In fact, first by encrypting this data and then selling the decryption keys back to the infected host computer, the above examples were performed.


Arizona Beverages, the company behind Arizona's Iced Tea, was the target of such an assault in March of 2019. The attack has caused sales problems in line with rumors. "We lost millions of dollars a day in sales," the company said.

There is a possibility that ransomware, which arrived over 200 from servers and networked computers, was delivered via a malicious email attachment.

Explosive growth

The recent development of executives and ransomware attacks is not a coincidence. The following factors have contributed to this:

  1. The online hacker team, known as TheShadowBrokers, gathered a treasure trove of tools and farms developed by NSA, the so-called dumping and the sale of 2016 and 2017.
  2. The invention of digital scarcity, in the form of cryptocurrencies, as a way of transferring value over the internet (anonymously and pseudonyms) and generating income from security vulnerabilities.

Counting the cost

The biggest cost of a ransomware attack on a victim is rarely the ransom itself (if paid), but the damage caused to the operations of an organization and the cost to work again properly. Which actions include the necessary security upgrades, lost revenue, damages of reputation and retraining of staff. FedEx, Maersk (shipping) and Merck (pharmaceutical), just three of the many victims of the NotPetya attack, are expected to lose combined 1,5 billions of dollars.

The most worrying part of all these is that ransomware is not always targeted. It can be diffused organically and indiscriminately through the digital facilities that connect your company to one of your suppliers, customers or employees. In addition, it is worth noting that the cost of pushing the ransomware into an extra organization is close to zero. There is also no difference in the cost to an attacker if your company is worth thousands of dollars or billions of dollars (although the expected amount of ransom will vary greatly).

Stay small

We are at a time when the size no longer provides the same strategic advantage it once provided. It is important to know the industries, geographies and business models, where size increase can be associated with increased exposure to virtual attacks. Small businesses have lower rates of electronic blackmail. A hacker looking for a ransom can only ask for what an organization can withstand without retreating, otherwise they will both be left empty-handed.

Hiding in a simple look

"Information technology is portable, ie it can work independently of the location and increase the mobility of ideas, people and capital," says Davidson & Rees-Mogg.

As more and more organizations evolve to become technology companies at their core, with a global reach, they use methods that match these new needs. Scattered offices without a main building, remote freelancers, external suppliers and distributors, leased equipment and infrastructure, affiliated service providers and subscriptions - the form in which an organization can become opaque. These measures, when combined, reduce the digital visibility of your operations.

Keep a low profile

An organization that focuses on the brand has value in the form of goodwill. Goodwill is something that needs to be constantly protected, and the attacker knows this. It has been revealed that Marriott hotels, through its Starwood subsidiary, have now potentially exposed 327 million passport numbers between 2014 and 2016 in a huge data breach. Rumor has it that this was not caused by ransomware, but the blow to the company is the same and the company will try to restore confidence in the coming decades. Now imagine if the same thing was going to happen in INTL FCStone. Have you ever heard of them? I do not. Probably because they do not need me to know who they are to be successful. But they won 29 billion dollars 2017, they are based in New York and all with less than 15K fans in Twitter.

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