How to Protect the Next Data Explosion From More Sophisticated Ransomware Attacks

AUGUST 4TH, 2020

Today’s most valuable business asset is its data, and we’re generating a lot of it.

According to the Cybersecurity Ventures 2020 Data Attack Surface Report, the world will store 200 zettabytes of data in the cloud by 2025 – or a whopping 50% of the world’s data at that time. To put that into perspective, one zettabyte is one sextillion bytes. Written out, that’s:

1 ZB = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes

But right now, five billion people access and store data on their digital devices and the cloud, with that number set to skyrocket to 90% of the human population, aged six or older, by 2029.

Suffice it to say, the world’s next data explosion is right around the corner and perhaps unsurprisingly, needs to be backed up and protected from loss and cyber threats.

With the growth of data comes the growth of innovation – and cybercrime

Cybercrime Magazine estimates a ransomware attack to occur every 11 seconds by 2021. So, given its increasing prevalence, it’s no surprise that many in IT are familiar with strains such as CryptoLocker, Ryuk and REvil. With that said, new strains of ransomware are making headlines on a seemingly daily basis.

Just last month, a new ransomware strain targeting Macs called ThiefQuest made its first appearance. Not only does this strain encrypt files, it also boasts spyware capabilities, including the ability to exfiltrate files, search for passwords, and steal critical information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and other financial information as it is typed in. While it appears that the malware originates from downloading pirated software, staying vigilant and ensuring cybersecurity best practices is critical to avoid falling victim to ThiefQuest.

Despite even the best efforts to thwart ransomware attacks, cybercriminals continue to find more creative ways to attack organizations. Take the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT), for example, which was recently attacked by a new form of ransomware dubbed “Ransom X.”

This human-operated ransomware terminates almost 300 security processes, bypasses system folders, and encrypts a computer and others on the network. To encrypt files unbeknownst to the user, the ransomware creates a custom file extension name associated with the victim – so in the case of TXDoT, the custom extension was “.txdot.”

There’s hope

As data grows exponentially, security teams are working harder than ever to protect business-critical data from cyberattacks. Innovation in the data protection space must keep up with the evolution of ransomware.

What’s an IT specialist or CISO to do?

Discussions between the editors at Cybersecurity Ventures and Fortune 500 CISOs uncovered five top data protection considerations for organizations of all sizes. Read them in the full 2020 Data Attack Surface Report, sponsored by Arcserve.