Threat researchers at Positive Technologies analyzed the Q3 2021 cybersecurity threat landscape and discovered some interesting trends. According to Positive Technologies, the number of attacks in Q3 decreased by 4.8%, marking the first negative trend they have seen since 2018. They noted that ransomware attacks peaked in April of 2021 then saw a steady decrease as the year went on. The threat researchers attribute this decline to several major ransomware gangs going offline. The report noted that although attacks decreased, the use of remote access trojans increased. Although several major ransomware groups have disappeared late in the year, it is very possible they will rebrand and emerge as a new group in the first quarter of 2022. Additionally, major ransomware groups are using affiliates to carry out their attacks, making their reach far greater than before.
Although attacks have decreased, ransomware groups are still a very real threat to any organization. Hopefully companies being more aware of the threat and the increase in pressure from law enforcement will continue to cause a decrease in 2022. Regardless, organizations should initiate proactive measures to ensure they are protected from ransomware. To protect against ransomware attacks, organizations should:
• Regularly back up data, air gap, and password protect backup copies offline.
• Ensure copies of critical data are not accessible for modification or deletion from the system where the data resides.
• Implement network segmentation.
• Implement a recovery plan to maintain and retain multiple copies of sensitive or proprietary data and servers in a physically separate, segmented, secure location (i.e., hard drive, storage device, the cloud).
• Install updates/patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as practical after they are released. Implement monitoring of security events on employee workstations and servers, with a 24/7 Security Operations Center to detect threats and respond quickly.
• Use multifactor authentication where possible.
• Use strong passwords and regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts, implementing the shortest acceptable timeframe for password changes.
• Avoid reusing passwords for multiple accounts.
• Focus on cyber security awareness and training.
• Regularly provide users with training on information security principles and techniques as well as overall emerging cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities.