How to Protect Against Ransomware
If you do not take steps to defend your organization from ransomware, you will be targeted at some point. Data loss is almost certain to occur if your computer does not have enough protection against ransomware assaults. Both on-premises and in the public cloud, this is an unavoidable conclusion to reach. What is it about ransomware that makes it such a threat? What is the mechanism by which it renders data utterly useless?
Ransomware uses a method known as encryption to make data unreadable by anybody other than the data’s legitimate owner. Encryption is the use of a mathematical technique as a key to render data unreadable until the appropriate key is used to “unlock” the data. Attackers who employ ransomware hold the “readable data” hostage until the “ransom” is paid to receive the key that will unlock the data and restore it to its normal state, allowing it to be read. The ransomware procedure is intended to be as unobtrusive as possible to the end-user.
Nobody, not even the user or administrator, has any way of knowing that their data is being encrypted in the background and maliciously. When the encryption process is complete, and it is too late to prevent the harm from occurring, the attackers display a notice to the end-user informing them that they have been infected by ransomware and that they must pay the desired ransom to have their data decrypted.
The “Ransom” message that was left on the desktop of a computer that had been infected
How can ransomware infect a computer’s operating system? There are a variety of attack vectors that can be used to transmit ransomware to unsuspecting victims. However, one of the most common ways in which ransomware infects end users is through email attachments. After being duped into opening an attachment, the end-user discovers that the attachment contains a malicious executable file that contains ransomware.
Numerous variations of ransomware may be able to get past typical antivirus security and begin the process of encrypting critical files, folders, mapped network drives, and any other resources that the end-user has permission to access before being detected and removed.
The synchronization of files between on-premises systems and the G Suite public cloud SaaS environment is one of the vectors for ransomware infection that connects them. Syncing data from on-premises end-user devices to the Google G Suite cloud is made possible through the use of G Suite’s installable utilities. After infecting an end-user device, ransomware will begin encrypting files on the device, which will subsequently be synchronized with the Google cloud. The ransomware encryption process is considered as a modification in the file, and this will cause the synchronization procedure to be triggered as a result.
Ransomware Has the Potential to Infect Public Clouds
How to keep your computer safe from ransomware
There are still many misconceptions about public cloud systems and ransomware that need to be addressed. When data is transferred to a public cloud SaaS environment, such as Google G Suite, many firms with untrained or inexperienced people believe that their data is safe from the consequences of ransomware infections that wreak havoc on-premises. This, on the other hand, could not be further from the truth.
Public cloud SaaS environments have a significant advantage over private cloud SaaS environments in terms of high availability, which is achieved through the use of world-class data centers and failover mechanisms built into the underlying data center technologies that are used to host the SaaS services.
This is not to be confused with data protection, which is another topic. They are two distinct methods involving two distinct technological platforms. While companies like Google, Microsoft, and others are introducing the most fundamental aspects of data protection, these are not and should not be considered backups in and of themselves.
Google G Suite has the capability of restoring data in a rudimentary fashion from “versions” of files stored in their cloud storage as well as a “recycle bin” of sorts that allows end-users to “un-delete” files that have been inadvertently deleted either accidentally or intentionally for a period of up to 30 days after they have been deleted.
While organizations may be able to make use of file versions as a means of potentially recovering data, this is not a strategy that can be depended on for wide-scale protection of business-critical data stored in the public cloud consistently. Ransomware is voracious and destructive to any data it comes into contact with.
Is it possible to restore ransomware-infected files if they are not identified within the 30-day window of opportunity for recovery? When organizations want the restoration of a “version” of a file that has not been preserved by the versions in cloud storage, what should they do? If there are services compromised by ransomware outside of G Suite storage, such as email, how will you deal with this situation? The phrase “RansomCloud,” which refers to a ransomware strain that is capable of encrypting cloud-based email, serves as the smoking gun to demonstrate that even public cloud email is susceptible to ransomware infection.
To retrieve different versions of data, only the G Suite cloud drive storage is accessible at the time of publication. What about electronic mail? In addition to G Suite, are there any other SaaS services that could be affected or targeted by ransomware in the future? What about a ransomware assault that has not yet been launched but targets other cloud services housed within SaaS services such as G Suite?
All of these, as well as a slew of other problems, lead to the conclusion that greater backups for data stored in the public cloud are required. Backups are critical for surviving a ransomware assault, both on-premises and in the cloud, and they cannot be overstated in this context.
The minimal data protection given as a native feature in G Suite cloud storage is insufficient for surviving a huge ransomware attack in a G Suite environment, as demonstrated by the example below. Organizations must implement an enterprise data protection solution that provides proper backup functionality for data stored in the G Suite SaaS environment, which allows for proper versioning, data retention beyond the 30-day limit imposed by Google with their file versions, automation, powerful restore functionality, migration capabilities, and numerous other features and functionality that provide proper protection for public cloud SaaS environments such as G Suite.
The Financial Impact of a Ransomware Attack
The cost of a ransomware assault can rise substantially with each minute and hour that passes while business continuity is affected, and the cost of a ransomware attack can reach millions of dollars. Additionally, the intangible costs of decreased customer satisfaction, damage to brand reputation, and a variety of other issues can mount up to unimaginable sums that can drive a company out of business. Let’s take a look at two different client scenarios: one in which the customer is utilizing a standard cloud backup solution, and another in which the customer is using Spinone to safeguard business-critical data.
Scenario No. 1:
Customer “A” has a rather large environment in Google’s G Suite SaaS environment, with around 1,000,000 files stored on Google Team Drives and approximately 15,000 G Suite accounts, according to the company’s website. An unwary high-level end-user device gets infected with ransomware, resulting in the encryption of the vast majority of the files stored across the G Suite system as a result. The organization has selected a standard backup vendor for the G Suite cloud environment, with no additional ransomware protection included in the contract. Customer A is required to restore the majority, if not all, of the files that were previously saved on their G Suite system. Because of the potential for misuse of the underlying infrastructure, Google has placed restrictions on G Suite. One component of these restrictions is a limit on the number of I/O requests that can be made per second. This has the potential to make the restoration process even more time-consuming.