Ransomware Incident response and Digital Forensic Services
HOW NOT TO FALL PREY TO RANSOMWARE ATTACKS: PREPARE, RESPOND, AND RECOVER
Ransomware attacks continue to plague organizations of every size across all industries. Not even schools, nonprofits, or small businesses are free from escalating risk. When a ransomware attack occurs, malicious software makes it impossible for you to access your systems, files, and data until you pay a fee, usually in a digital currency. As our cybersecurity experts have previously explained, attacks can be extremely hurtful in terms of operational disruption, financial costs, and reputational damage.
However, you’re not defenseless against ransomware. We’re here to help. Your Sikich Cybersecurity team can assist you in reducing your risk by preparing for an attack, responding promptly and powerfully if you are hit, and recovering systems and information rapidly. Sikich is a managed security services provider (MSSP) with a large portfolio of services, including 24/7 systems monitoring and consulting offered by highly credentialed security experts. Our MSSP resources and expertise are available to help your organization experience the best possible cybersecurity outcomes.
Prepare: Reduce your risk exposure
Sikich can help you design an effective protection strategy against ransomware attacks. Here are some proven measures we often recommend and help clients put into practice:
Highly damaging, sophisticated ransomware attacks often start small, with a threat actor phishing for user credentials and company information. Even digitally savvy and careful employees may not always recognize when they encounter a security risk. Awareness building and education can involve every team member in protecting your digital systems and assets. Sikich can assist you in designing and rolling out training and cybersecurity best practices to employees as a strong first line of defense.
Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the easiest and least expensive measures you can take to protect against ransomware and other attacks. We can show you the options for configuring MFA and how to complement it with other authentication and access control solutions.
Tighten user account security and privileges
In ransomware attacks, threat actors use a variety of techniques to steal passwords, elevate account privileges, and impersonate administrators, which allows them to access to your most sensitive systems and data. You can curtail the damage an attacker can inflict by limiting accounts and user rights. For example, minimize the number of accounts that have domain administrator rights. In addition, it will make a difference to make sure that no accounts have weak passwords and that none of the accounts share the same passwords with other accounts or systems.
Ransomware attacks can quickly close off all systems and resources on your network. That includes backups. If you’re already backing up data, user profiles, and applications to the cloud in addition to on-premises systems, that’s an excellent practice you should continue. The Sikich Cybersecurity team can work with you to implement additional backup protection and manage backup and recovery systems so that they’re no longer as vulnerable to ransomware.
Test for vulnerabilities
Criminals launching ransomware or other attacks may be able to exploit gaps in your network to get administrator-level access to your systems. Depending on their proficiency, attackers can reach your digital assets even if you keep systems protected and current with patches and data protection software. Sikich penetration testing highlights gaps that could compromise your systems, and our experts can help you close the gaps and strengthen your security measures.
Augment anti-virus software
Many successful ransomware attacks bypass or disable anti-virus software, which is typically not equipped to prevent that kind of intrusion. You can continue to rely on your anti-virus tools to detect and remove many common viruses and other malware from your systems, but you may want to augment your security with a strong ransomware defense. The Sikich MSSP arsenal includes solutions and services that can be invaluable in this regard, including endpoint detection and response technology for immediate discovery and mitigation of ransomware and other serious threats.
Maintain detailed logs
The default configuration for many organizational systems does not enable logging with enough detail and traceability to investigate and understand how a ransomware attack succeeded. This makes it more difficult to assess your vulnerabilities and strengthen your security. Your Sikich cybersecurity consultants can reconfigure logging to be more helpful. They also can set up round-the-clock monitoring coverage for system logs and shelter them in a centralized location with additional security measures.
Respond: Minimize the consequences of ransomware attacks
The Sikich Cybersecurity team works at top speed to help you assess and limit the potential damage as soon as you experience a ransomware attack. Sikich’s incident responders lay the groundwork for a fast recovery and safe, continuing operations. We enable you to stand up an effective ransomware attack response by:
- Guiding and assisting in the immediate containment of an attack on your systems
- Identifying and isolating compromised systems
- Securing your network, Active Directory domains, and administrator accounts
- Determining how an intrusion took place and which data was stolen
- Offering remedies and solutions to address vulnerabilities
Sikich does not negotiate with criminals who look for a payment before they restore access to your systems, but we can refer you to one of our partners for assistance. Following an attack, you should contact law enforcement, banks, credit card associations, and internal response teams as soon as you can, but certainly with 24 hours.
Recover: Return to sustained, productive operations
Once the Sikich Cybersecurity team has stopped an attack in progress and implemented safeguards for your systems, the Sikich steps in to lead the continuing recovery. Typically, the IT Solutions team:
- Rebuilds systems beyond the initial incident mitigation
- Recovers your SQL and other databases
- Reconfigures your firewall
- Takes any other steps to completely restore your operations
As you bring your recovered systems back online, Sikich can provide vulnerability scanning and penetration testing services to validate that the weaknesses that allowed the breach to occur have been addressed and that recovery activities have not created new avenues for an attack.
Your long-term recovery and security depend on the cybersecurity measures and practices you implement following the immediate attack response, recovery, and testing. Sikich’s Cybersecurity Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) group can strengthen your security posture by working with you to:
- Establish and update missing policies and incident response plans
- Formalize cybersecurity risk identification and risk management activities
- Performing audit and assessment activities against industry standards
- Define and plan an effective cybersecurity program to safeguard your data and systems into the future
If you engage Sikich as your MSSP, you can draw on additional guidance relating to solutions and best practices that can help maintain the viability of your business. For instance, you can:
- Adopt the most advantageous options from our portfolio of monitoring, testing, assessment, and other services to strengthen your security
- Collaborate with the MSSP group to anticipate and prevent future exploits
- Rely on Sikich cybersecurity consultants to help implement risk mitigation practices
- Augment your team with a Sikich virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) to help maintain an effective cybersecurity posture in alignment with your technology and business strategy
Are you ready for the challenges of ransomware?
With attacks on the rise, and no end in sight, is your organization ready to take action and stop attacks before they start or quickly recover before disaster happens?