What better time to strike than over the holidays, when employees are enjoying extra days off?
With the holidays upon us, employees are looking forward to spending time with families and friends. Unfortunately, the holidays can also bring an increased risk of data breaches. Cybercriminals frequently strike during holidays when IT staff are likely to be taking time off, giving hackers the opportunity to attempt credential variations and more time to expand their reach to more devices and accounts.
Organizations need to be prepared for cyberattacks aimed at exploiting holiday vacations.
Three of the biggest attacks publicized in 2021 occurred over long holiday weekends:
- JBS USA, one of the largest meat producers in the world, paid $11 million to hackers in response to a ransomware event that occurred over Memorial Day weekend.
- Kaseya, a Florida-based software company, experienced a cyberattack on the Fourth of July that compromised over 1,000 firms across the world.
- The Colonial Pipeline suffered an attack that immobilized fuel delivery across the southeastern United States during Mother’s Day weekend.
According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, this year’s Fourth of July holiday brought 2,084 ransomware complaints totaling over $16.8 million in losses. That’s a 62% increase in reported incidents and a 20% increase in reported losses compared to 2020.
The amount of data your business collects is only expected to grow, which means greater challenges with data protection. Therefore, having an incident response plan to leverage in the event of a ransomware attack is just as important as knowing your company’s susceptibilities. Doing a comprehensive review of your data protection, security programs and controls, networks, applications and data allows you to identify risk areas and create a strategy for resolution.
Applying a data protection and information management strategy to your business needs removes the guesswork and allows you to inspect your data protection, data loss, data governance, and information management.
Review your existing cybersecurity processes and follow the following best practices to mitigate the risks of holiday-based ransomware attacks:
- Identify IT and security personnel who are accessible on weekends and holidays and able to respond in the event of a data breach or ransomware attack.
- Create multifactor authentication for administrative and remote-access accounts.
- Monitor and secure any remote desktop protocol service.
- Align your IT environment with the NIST SP 1800-25 / 26 security standards.
- Check if your data protection environment has data isolation and air gapping.
- Evaluate whether your business can recover from a ransomware attack.
- Raise awareness within your company and conduct regular cybersecurity training.
Sirius can help you spread some cheer and peace of mind by providing a multifaceted strategy to prevent or reduce the impact of a data breach, starting with a ransomware vulnerability and recovery assessment. Contact us to speak with one of our dedicated Data Protection and Information Management practice consultants who can assess your systems’ vulnerabilities and recommend mitigation strategies so you can enjoy a safe holiday season.