Baltimore is the latest city government to fall victim to ransomware, for the second time in as many years. The city’s systems have been locked up since May 7 after being attacked by “RobbinHood” ransomware.
While the mayor is refusing to negotiate with the hackers or pay the 13-bitcoin ransom they’ve demanded, many of the city’s networks have been compromised, including police email and board of elections.
What Is RobbinHood Ransomware?
RobbinHood ransomware is a ransomware that targets an entire network and attempts to take over as many systems as possible. Once infected with the ransomware, it demands bitcoin payment in order to release the files. In the case of Baltimore, they’ve requested demanded $17,600 in bitcoin per system — a total of about $76,280, according to Dark Reading.
How Do You Get RobbinHood Ransomware?
Like other ransomware, the RobbinHood hackers gain access to an organization’s network through phishing emails that are deliberately designed to appear legitimate to the recipient of the email. In the case of Robbin Hood, they use several psychological tricks to compel the email recipient to click on the link that begins the encryption process. Prior to the attack on Baltimore, they successfully infiltrated Greenville, North Carolina networks.
Stop Clicking Links and Downloading Files
Email is a convenient method for communicating and has made business operations so much more efficient, but every employee in every organization has an obligation to stop clicking on links and files. If there is any doubt whatsoever about the legitimacy of the email (and even if there is not any doubt) follow up in person or over the phone with the sender to make sure they actually sent the file.
What to Do If You Get Ransomware
If you believe your network has been infected with ransomware, or if you have received a ransom demand, immediately disconnect from the network and call your IT department or managed services provider. In many cases, you can prevent the attack from getting worse by removing access to the network by the infected system.
Don’t Pay the Ransom
Paying the ransom only fuels the motivation of hackers to continue holding businesses hostage. Instead, make sure you have mitigated your risk by having a disaster recovery and data backup plan in place. Regular offsite backups can protect you from needing to pay a ransom to gain access to your network.
If you are concerned about the threat of RobbinHood and other common ransomware threats, contact us to learn more about how you can improve your security and better protect your organization. As you can see, every organization – from schools and hospitals to municipalities and utilities to businesses of every size – are at risk.
At thinkCSC, we take security seriously, offering innovative levels of security monitoring for our clients. Cyber threats are a normal part of doing business, but these risks can, and should, be addressed and abated. Partnering with the right managed services provider does make a difference. Today’s MSP does more than just provide technology and facilitate server upgrades; the right MSP is an integral layer of your cybersecurity, providing the expertise you need to remain competitive, secure, and in business. We can partner with your Columbus-region organization to develop a unique solution designed to fit your business model. Take the first step towards advanced cybersecurity practices and contact us today to learn more about our managed security services.
No business, regardless of size, is immune to cybercrime. Unfortunately, not every business has the resources to fuel an entire IT department with the latest technology. This very concern, however, is what feeds the misconception that a viable cybersecurity platform is unattainable and is what deters small- and medium-sized businesses from implementing the right strategies. Updated technology is essential, but what is more important is establishing a culture of cybersecurity. Every business can follow basic protocols that will protect private data.
Every account should be properly secured.
Remembering passwords is tough, which is why people create passwords that are simple to decipher and apply those same passwords to multiple accounts. However, if a password is easy for your employees to remember, it’s too easy for hackers to uncover. Use a password manager that creates unique passwords across all accounts and implement multifactor authentication to confirm identities.
Train and re-train employees.
Education is a strong defense against hackers. It doesn’t take a technical expert to create a phishing email, and such scams are often convincing enough to fool even the most talented IT professionals. Encourage your employees to be on the lookout for suspicious emails and promote a zero-trust policy. Employees should never click on a link unless they can be sure of its origins; require them to report suspicious or unusual activity.
Include personal devices in your security strategy.
You might think that establishing a policy of no personal devices for work would be effective, but let’s be realistic: Your employees are going to use their phones and tablets to get things done. It’s part of what makes your people productive and flexible; so, instead of prohibiting the practice, ensure that you have strict policies in place for how personal devices are used, as well as robust mobile device security and management protocols. If necessary, you can utilize a VPN so that all employees have access to an encrypted channel regardless of location.
Don’t test with real data.
This may seem obvious, but many developers test unsecured systems with real copies of confidential information. Cybersecurity policies should encompass all data and programs, and if you’re running a test, use inconsequential data as a substitute, for testing purposes. Hackers are on the lookout for these types of weaknesses, and without even realizing it, you could be installing into your networks a freshly tested data that is infected with malware.
Open the door to communication with your team.
Placing blame when mistakes are made benefits no one in an organization. By building a culture of trust and open communication, your employees will feel comfortable reporting unusual activity or even admitting that they have clicked a link they shouldn’t have. This allows security professionals to mitigate a data breach and prevent further loss, if any has occurred. When employees are comfortable reporting vulnerabilities, you learn of potential disasters before they happen and can use the incidents as training opportunities.
IT security is about more than hardware. Your strategy should address your organization’s entire infrastructure and the data critical to your operations and to your consumers. These simple procedures allow everyone within your organization to act as a defense against cyberattacks. No hardware can account for human error, and policies must address this vulnerability to mitigate risk and protect business outcomes.
A managed service provider can offer your business the best solutions possible and work diligently to ensure that the percentage you budget to IT is worth every cent. Partnering with the right managed services provider does make a difference. Today’s MSP does more than just provide technology and facilitate server upgrades; the right MSP is an integral layer of your cybersecurity. At thinkCSC, cybersecurity is simply factored into everything we do. We can partner with your Columbus-region organization to develop a unique solution designed to fit your business model. Take the first step towards advanced cybersecurity practices and contact us today to learn more about our enhanced Managed Security options.
Are you spending the right budget percentage on IT services? The answer is most likely no, since most organizations spend too little and in the wrong areas.
Those organizations that you might assume are the most secure suffer from the same weakness as every other company: basic security knowledge. Even those on the campaign trail, despite rampant political hacking attempts, are failing to address email security. The topic of cybersecurity is heard but not addressed, and even if the rules of keeping personal and professional information secure are understood, they are not taken seriously. When 90% of cyberattacks now begin with a phishing campaign, it’s clear that hackers have noticed as well. Email security is not being prioritized, and data breaches are a common result.
Phishing attacks are hard to identify.
Ongoing training is critical for everyone within an organization because phishing attacks are becoming more advanced each day. An employee may not think twice about a request to update a password for a commonly used website, or to submit private information to what appears to be a vendor. Employees blindly trust that an antivirus program will weed out the spam in their digital mailboxes, without considering that an email could be a phishing attack.
The two most common types of phishing attacks:
- Mass phishing – Although hackers are fond of specific targets, it doesn’t change the actuality of mass emails being sent company wide. It only takes one employee to offer credentials or click a link and the attack will have been successful.
- Spear phishing – This cyberattack targets individuals or specific groups of people that have desired information. The hacking attempt looks legitimate because the message is likely relevant and tailored to the intended recipient.
Preventing phishing attacks starts with best security practices.
Educating staff is essential in stopping phishing attacks, and it needs to be more than a brief presentation or a handout. Cybersecurity training should be comprehensive and provided on a regular basis, to communicate updates and these reminders about best practices:
- Secure personal information – Do not use the same password on multiple devices and at multiple sites, including personal networks. Hackers can target specific individuals and explore networks like social media to gain information. Passwords should be complex and changed periodically, and double authentication should be applied whenever possible.
- Use available malware and virus protection programs – If professional devices are asking for updates, make sure employees are not ignoring prompts. Also encourage employees to secure their personal devices and provide accessible security options. By incorporating best security practices into their personal lives, employees are more likely to implement these practices in their professional realms.
- Use secure networks only – It can be tempting for employees to sign in quickly to an office network at home, even if it is to innocently check an email. Unsecured access, however, can give hackers the opportunity they need to infiltrate secure networks.
- Be aware of threats – Train employees to be suspicious of emails requesting private information, such as credit card details. If an email requests immediate action, then a moment should be taken to confirm the request. Nothing is so immediate that your employees can’t take the time to verify a request with a supervisor.
Your employees can be your biggest risk, but they can also become your strongest defense against phishing attacks. Knowledge is the first step in preventing data breaches, and by educating employees regularly, you can establish a culture of best security practices. Download the thinkCSC email security guide to get started.
Cybersecurity has become a top concern for every industry. Defending against cyber threats is a full-time job, yet even though most competent cybersecurity strategy is not foolproof. There are too many facets to consider, too many vulnerabilities to take notice of, and too few IT professionals to manage every threat. However, collaboration can give organizations the advantage. Team projects are more successful with the cooperation of diverse individuals; likewise, an organization can have a stronger cybersecurity strategy when they decide to partner with others.
Shared information benefits all.
It can be tempting to hoard your best cybersecurity strategies but doing so only limits your overall defensive capabilities. Even government agencies have begun partnering with private and international industries, recognizing that collaboration is the best defense against malicious cyberattacks. Collaboration also makes it possible for organizations to stop cyberattacks before they become rampant, by globally disseminating threat intelligence and guidelines on how to reduce the risk of known threats.
Keep your friends close and your “enemies” closer.
In some circumstances, cybersecurity vendors have found that partnering with their competition is beneficial in battling a common enemy. There are numerous stories of ransomware being decrypted by a team comprised of IT professionals from separate companies, each recognizing that they share a common goal. If one company is taken down by a cyberattack, it is only a matter of time before others find themselves susceptible to the same vulnerabilities. Working together is going to be more common as cybersecurity threats advance.
Collaboration promotes diverse expertise.
The most important aspect of collaboration is recognizing that one organization cannot possibly manage every threat alone. Companies assess their vulnerabilities, deciding areas of priority to mitigate risk. Inevitably, however, gaps remain. The best solution is to partner with others in the industry that excel where your own organization is lacking. Trading resources makes the sum greater than separate parts, resulting in stronger defenses than any one organization could possess.
For example, thinkCSC partnered last year with KnowBe4, and although thinkCSC is dedicated to improving awareness, KnowBe4 has the world’s largest library of security awareness training content. This partnership encourages everyone within an organization to be a part of the solution, offering the best training available. Human error is the root of most internal threats, and educating employees is a crucial step that every organization should take in establishing a culture of cybersecurity.
thinkCSC also recognizes that keeping information secure involves monitoring digital credentials, and ID Agent is the provider of the only commercial solution available that detects compromised credentials on the Dark Web. Clients deserve to know that their logon credentials are secure, even in the darkest corners of the internet. This credential monitoring software is highly specialized, and this collaboration offers clients the best solution against identify theft.
Collaboration has allowed organizations that offer managed cybersecurity services, such as thinkCSC, the opportunity to provide clients with an enhanced level of security tools. Our partnership with Arctic Wolf, a security operations center, offers clients 24/7 monitoring and crisis support from an experienced team of IT professionals. Managed threat detection can save a business from ruin, but not every size fits all. By collaborating with an adaptable service to manage threats as needed, businesses of every size can be protected.
The future of cybersecurity demands collaboration. Hackers are attempting to breach secure networks from multiple angles; therefore, your defenses should reflect a proactive strategy that leverages from diverse areas of expertise. There are many levels of cybersecurity, each as important as the other, but managing every aspect would be overwhelming to a single organization. Industries will find stronger defenses in partnerships, and the shared knowledge will benefit clients.
At thinkCSC, we believe that in order to achieve maximum success, regardless of the size or type of your organization, you must make IT an integral part of your overall business strategy and partner with IT professionals who not only understand how to leverage technology to their advantage but who are also committed to understanding your business goals and aligning their IT strategy to yours. We pride ourselves on having the best business-savvy technical experts in the industry. If you would like to learn how to create an IT security strategy aligned with your organizational goals, contact thinkCSC for more information.