Ransomware attacks are not a matter of if but a question of when, so sooner or later, even the best-protected networks that follow good security practices are bound to fall victim to a destructive attack.
However, it is essential to understand that the damage done by a ransomware attack might not be limited to the first occurrence. Therefore, it is crucial for victimized organizations to assess the breach thoroughly, remediate the vulnerabilities the attackers leveraged for initial network access, and remove all persistence mechanisms or backdoors to prevent subsequent reinfections.
Persistence and reinfections
When an organization realizes it has fallen victim to a ransomware attack, it automatically assumes that the attacker has been lurking on its network for some time, escalating their privileges, exfiltrating data, and finally encrypting all files.
At that stage, the IT experts of the victimized firm are already on their back foot, scrambling to unlock encrypted computers and restore all systems as quickly as possible to minimize the negative business impact.
This rush often results in overlooking or ignoring the need to assess the attacker’s access points, missing signs that show the leveraged opportunities, and not scrutinizing all possible file and process injections, new startup entries, or registry modifications.
In short, the victim may restore their systems quickly or even pay a ransom to the threat actor, hoping to speed up the restoration, only to find themselves extorted again shortly after thinking they’d cleaned up everything.
The importance of a comprehensive post-breach assessment that will determine the threat actor’s entry points, detect any remnant suspicious movement, and remove all malicious activity cannot be overstated.
Ransomware data restoration experts like MonsterCloud follow a strict post-breach assessment plan as part of their incident response process, answering key questions about the attack like:
- How the attackers gain access
- What alerts or warning signs were missed
- What files were compromised
- How security and IT teams worked together during the incident response
- The response speed and efficiency of the team during the attack
Answering the above helps to identify security gaps or omissions and lays the ground for developing a solid plan for bolstering security defenses as quickly and as effectively as possible.
Once an organization has conducted a post-breach assessment, it must take steps to strengthen its cybersecurity posture. This includes:
- Implementing more robust access controls and authentication methods
- Regularly updating and patching software and hardware
- Monitoring network traffic for unusual activity
- Educating employees on cybersecurity best practices and how to recognize phishing attempts
- Developing and periodically reviewing an incident response plan
- Investing in advanced threat detection and response tools
- Collaborating with third-party cybersecurity experts for guidance and assistance
In addition to these measures, organizations should consider conducting regular security audits and penetration tests to identify and remediate any vulnerabilities in their systems.
In conclusion, ransomware reinfection is a significant danger for organizations that fail to properly assess and remediate vulnerabilities following an attack. MonsterCloud can help organizations conduct a thorough post-breach assessment, identify gaps in their cybersecurity posture and take the necessary steps to strengthen their defenses.