How Government Institutions Can Protect Themselves Against Ransomware Attacks

2. September 19

Targeted ransomware attacks have been among the most common cyber threats in recent years. This is because they are relatively easy to conduct, and they don’t require a lot of sophisticated tools or human resources, and the return is often pretty rewarding compared to the effort. 

Although there are no organizations that are immune to ransomware attacks, they have been predominantly targeting government institutions and agencies, mostly because they are the ones that have enough finances and can afford to pay the ransom demanded by attackers. That’s why institutions like law enforcement agencies, cities and local, regional or state governments have to be more vigilant when it comes to these attacks and take the necessary steps that would mitigate this threat and minimize the risk of falling victim to it as much as possible.

 Major Economic and Safety Impact on Cities

 When a government agency’s network is infected by ransomware, the consequences can be really wide-reaching. For instance, if a smart city that relies on Internet of Things (IoT) devices to manage some or all processes involving traffic, utilities or administrative matters directly affecting citizens, such as online applications, filing and requesting different types of documents and permits, then a successful ransomware attack on the city’s network can bring it to a halt and cause chaos on many levels.

Public transport might come to a standstill, road signalization could be disrupted to cause collisions, and there might be power outages or communications blackouts, jeopardizing the well-being of millions of people.

Security of IoT Devices Must Be a Top Priority

While it is practically impossible to eliminate the threat of ransomware attacks because it’s a very lucrative venture and cyber criminals will always try to exploit this attack vector to obtain vast amounts of money, there are a few ways you can make it more difficult for threat actors to be successful in their efforts to breach your organization’s systems and to minimize the impact of such an attack.

For starters, you should train your staff and raise their awareness of these types of attacks, so that they can detect them more easily. Specifically, every employee should be educated on how to recognize malicious emails and suspicious links, because that’s the most common way for infecting computers with ransomware.

Then, all necessary actions need to be taken to ensure all devices connected to the Internet are secure, which includes installing regular software updates issued by manufacturers as well as security patches as soon as a new threat emerges. Additionally, keeping up to date with all known and emerging threats is a crucial part of the efforts for protecting against ransomware attacks. Being able to know the tactics and techniques of threat actors allows you to adapt your defense strategy and implement the appropriate measures so that you can mitigate future threats and minimize the risk of a breach. This is where threat intelligence comes in, providing you with actionable information about past attacks and detailed descriptions of all emerging threats, including indicators of compromise of a specific attack, as well as the tactics, techniques and procedures of the attackers, keeping you one step ahead of cyber criminals while saving your security team’s a lot of valuable time and resources.

If you want to learn more about how threat intelligence can help your organization tackle the rising threat of ransomware attacks, please contact us at curious@quoscient.io and our team will provide you with a detailed assessment of your security system and the potential gaps and vulnerabilities in it, along with suggestions about how it can be improved and how our threat intelligence team can help keep your networks protected.

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