What is Ransomware? A guide to preventing email security attacks.

Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing types of cybercrime. In just 2021 alone, we’ve seen targeted attacks on oil, meat production, transportation, cities, hospitals, and vendors. Think–Solarwinds, Colonial Pipeline, Kaseya.

In a nine-minute interview addressed to the nation’s business leaders, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco states,” If you are not taking steps – today, right now – to understand how you can make your company more resilient, what is your plan?”

The message is clear. Ransomware is here, and it is here to stay.

So, what can you do about it?

To help with that, we’ve put together an easy-to-understand beginner’s guide to ransomware.

Here’s everything you’ll learn in this guide:

  • What ransomware is and why it matters
  • The top 6 trends to know
  • And what you can do to prevent ransomware and protect you and your company
  • What Is Ransomware?

    Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to your data or system. The hacker holds your information hostage until you pay a ‘ransom.’ The key thing to remember is that Ransomware is the end state, not the beginning. Before a Ransomware is launched, there are months of planning, strategy and malicious infiltration in your organization.

    And these kinds of attacks have disastrous impacts on our businesses, society, and world. Based on research, we estimate that the total global ransomware damage costs to be 20 billion dollars in just 2021. And that damage is only growing with time.

    What Do You Need to Know About Ransomware?

    6 key trends are rising in ransomware attacks.

    1. Ransomware is increasingly found in links via emails
    2. Threat actors, or hackers, are using extortion and threats to ensure payment
    3. Threat actors are actively hiring in open marketplaces
    4. Organizations such as yours are turning to brokers and third-party companies to help negotiate ransoms such as ransomware insurance
    5. Paying a ransom may have significant legal ramifications
    6. The time it takes for a ransomware attack to compromise your system has shortened significantly

    How Do You Prevent Ransomware?

    So, what can we do about it? We’ve outlined the before, during, and after to protect yourself from and prevent ransomware attacks.


    • The first thing, and most important thing, you can do to prevent and protect yourself from attacks is to use a preemptive, cloud-native security system across all channels that can be used in a ransomware attack, such as email, web, social, and network
    • 1Adopt awareness training and develop ransomware policy and playbook for your organization>
    • Determine an approach on which files need to be saved and which can be ignored if held ransom


    • During an attack, the first thing is to recognize that an attack is happening. Get off your network and stop access to your files
    • Identify the indicators of compromise (IOCs) such as
    • Unusual network traffic
    • Geographical anomalies
    • Login red flags
    • HTML response sizes
    • Unusual requests for the same file
    • Investigate and determine the scope of the outbreak.


    • After the attack, look at how to restore backups
    • Re-baseline: update and modify your security system

    Final Thoughts

    Protecting yourself and preventing ransomware attacks is a critical action in today’s environment. 1 ounce of prevention > 1million dollars in a payout.

    To make sure that you have the best protection that can save you millions of dollars in ransomware, look for a vendor that has the following:

    • Preemptive discovery- can your security system detect ransomware before it happens? Does it know where and how to look?
    • Integrated and automated prevention, detection, and response – is your security system integrated seamlessly into your existing technology stack? Is it automated and does it save you time?
    • Deep contextual analysis- does your security offer the proper assessment and analysis of language, tone, and sentiment of emails? Does it detect ransomware hiding within email attachments?
    • Partner social graphs- does the security vendor map your complex web of communications and protect you from compromised employees, executives, vendors, and suppliers?

    To learn more about ransomware protection and what to look for in the right vendor, read this. – https://cdn.area1security.com/solution-brief/Area-1-Security-SolutionBrief-Ransomware.pdf

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