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IT and Cybersecurity Company

Servicing Northwest Indiana and Southeast Chicago.


Cyber Security

Chester Inc. Information Technology – Cybersecurity vulnerabilities happen anytime a user clicks on a malicious email, software updates aren’t addressed promptly, or Information Technology (IT) best practices are followed.  These security gaps are what give cyber attackers access to your IT infrastructure.

In 2019 many organizations had to change their IT operations and policies quickly to meet the new challenges due to covid. This pandemic certainly accelerated working from home, which now seems to be the new normal. At this same time, cybercriminals were refining their techniques and taking advantage of shifting business operations. Your home is now another entry point for internet hackers to exploit.

Hackers use several types of attacks for ransomware. Email phishing and spam attacks masquerade as trusted entities while sending malicious email attachments to other victims. Once the victim opens or downloads the extensions, their computer can become hijacked, then the network, and finally your servers in your data center.  Attackers are now using a more aggressive form of malware such as NotPetya and RDP.  These are new vulnerabilities to exploit security loopholes and infect computers without even opening an email or attachment.


Double-Extortion Ransomware

Ransomware has become one of the top threats to organizations, businesses, and individuals operating on the web, which means everyone. Several high-profile hacking incidents show criminals that ransomware is profitable, which attracts even more hackers. It is alarming to learn that every 10 seconds, ransomware claims a new victim across the world. In 2020, businesses lost over $ 20 billion through ransomware, reaching 75% more than in past years.

The ransomware sector is getting more sophistication in recent times, and the trend will continue. Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) expands on the malware boundaries by constantly creating new security patches to reach the most sophisticated types of malware.

The trend of ransomware is on the rise and in the news, so too are double extortion ransomware campaigns. The actors have shifted from encrypting files and asking for a ransom, to steal sensitive information and data about their targets. Instead of getting robbed, paying the crook, and getting your data back safely.  Now you are getting denied and extorted simultaneously, so you must pay even more money. If the victim does not pay the ransom, the sensitive data is posted online or sold to the highest bidder. In 2021 attacks in the form of ransomware continue to grow, and most of the actors are switching to the “double extortion” we just wrote about. The DarkSide team applied that technique against Colonial Pipeline, which was a massive concern in the United States.

Work from Home

Statistics show that due to Covid-19, ransomware attacks via malicious emails are up by 600%, and experts estimate that in 2021, ransomware attacks happen every 11 seconds. Since 2018, the average ransom fee that attackers demand has increased from $5,000 in 2018 to over $ 200,000 in 2020. In 2021, the most prominent ransomware payout was paid by an insurance corporation at $40 million, setting a new global record. In 2017, ransomware attacks caused over $5 billion in losses in terms of lost time recovering from assaults and ransom paid.

The best way to protect organizations and individuals against ransomware attacks is through data backups. Ransomware threatens to put users’ data beyond reach, and the best method to recover from attacks is by having clean data that users can retrieve from backup.

  • Security-Gaps, how likely is a Ransomware attack for small to midsize businesses?
  • There are some reasons or factors that might make an organization a target by ransomware attacks.
  • The device being used is obsolete or is no longer state –of –the art.
  • The software installed in the devices is no longer up to date.
  • Unpatched browsers and operating systems allow attackers to run malicious codes exploiting all vulnerabilities possible.
  • No backup plan exists; when operating systems do not have a backup plan, chances are when hackers exploit the open vulnerabilities and easily infiltrate data.
  • Inadequate attention has been paid to cyber security, including risk assessment, policy reviews, and other compliances.

If any of the above points apply to an organization’s systems, it is at risk of falling prey to a ransomware attack. Vulnerability security scans and penetration tests are great ways to find your most significant leaks. Detecting these weak points allows the anti-malware software to infiltrate and defend the infected data and information.


Preventing Ransomware translates to securing the business 

Protection against ransomware is critical and should be prevented in a few different ways. First, learning to prevent infection is a good start for the business operating systems. There are precautions to take to avoid infection. Again, avoiding clicking on poisoned links or websites.

Keep personal information safe and confidential. Attackers make agent calls, texts, or emails and pretend to come from trusted sources or other team members. Their target is to get a vital credential to log in to the systems and steal critical data.

Do not click on emails that look suspicious because ransomware can find a way in even if you don’t click the email attachment. Keep your operating systems and programs updated. It makes installing the new security patches that outpace the malware, ensuring safe data and information.


Anti-Ransomware Software

The use of immutable storage is a great way to protect backed-up data. Immutable object storage, also referred to as Write-Once-Read-Many (WORM), can store information in a bucket and deadlock it to hinder additional modification. This is safe because no attackers or employees can change, delete, or steal. Many disk-centered backup systems use changed block monitoring to safeguard data at the block level and defend archives as they are modified.

The issue here is that ransomware alters numerous storage blocks, and the backup network might store the current encrypted data. A sound backup system should return the data to its original state before the attack occurs. Using immutable storage could help safeguard backups against malware attacks.  It enables the backup plan to retain an adequate number of retrieval points and protect the prevailing storage blocks from being modified; thus, allowing the backup system to return data to its original state before the attack occurs.

Ransomware attacks are increasing daily and have resulted in numerous organizations losing sensitive and critical data. Maintaining data backups with a strategy to retrieve data once an attack has happened is your best policy. Companies and individuals should strive to have a daily offline data backup system to reduce the amount of data lost during ransomware attacks.  The issue doesn’t lie in the attack but how long your business is interrupted or permanently altered.

Contact Chester Inc. Information Technology with any questions you might have about your Cybersecurity or any IT Security Cybersecurity Assessments for your business. Servicing Northwest Indiana and Southeast Chicago for over 40 years.



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