Secret Service Alert: MSP-Targeted Ransomware Attacks Rising

JULY 13TH, 2020
MSPs are well aware of the danger to their customers’ data brought on by ransomware and other cyberattacks. Data protection is often a key component of any SLA because the consequences of failure can be very expensive. How expensive? Insurance Business Magazine says the average cost of ransomware attacks rose an incredible 104 percent year over year in Q4 2019, to $84,116.

MSPs in the Crosshairs

Today’s cybercriminals are shifting their focus from companies and individuals to MSPs. And it’s gotten so bad that the United States Secret Service recently released an alert warning that MSPs are now a primary cyberattack target. This shift is happening for good—though malicious—reasons. Why target one network or device when you can target many? MSPs are the perfect entry point for accessing lots of networks, where the potential rewards can be much, much greater. According to Security Magazine cybercriminals are attacking MSP products and services, with a focus on remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools and cybersecurity dashboards. The attacks range from brute force, entry through software vulnerabilities on unpatched servers, and even ransomware and social engineering ploys. Once they have access the cybercriminals try to gather as many admin credentials as they can.

Secret Service Shares Cybersecurity Best Practices

If you’re responsible for your MSPs cybersecurity, you already know that ensuring security requires planning and diligence. As you weigh how to best respond to this rise in attacks, here are some best practices for MSPs that the Secret Service shared in its alert:
  • Have a well-defined SLA
  • Ensure remote administration tools are patched and up to date
  • Minimize privileges for access to resources
  • Establish well-defined security controls that comply with end-users' regulatory compliance requirements
  • Perform annual data audits
  • Take into consideration local, state, and federal data compliance standards
  • Proactively conduct cyber training and education programs for employees

Take a Multi-Pronged Approach

The Secret Service list is a great high-level guide to what MSPs need to do. It quickly illustrates the reality that it takes a variety of tactics to prevent successful attacks. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the more important tactics on the list.

Minimize Access with Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) prevents cybercriminals from gaining access to your or your clients’ networks. Make sure MFA is required for all critical applications that support it. And make sure your backups are also protected this way. If an attack succeeds and also gets through to your backups, you’ve got trouble ahead. StorageCraft® has several options for ensuring that doesn’t happen with two-factor authentication for admin access.

Update, Update, Update

Software vulnerabilities are a soft spot for cybercriminals. Preventing these attacks demands that you keep absolutely everything patched and updated. That includes your remote monitoring and management tools, remote servers, desktops, mobile devices, and anything else that accesses your network. Make sure updates are regular part of your maintenance regimen.

Take Regular Backups

Backups are your best protection for minimizing the consequences of a successful attack. So make sure your backup plan is up to date and you have the technology in place to meet your SLAs. Because every minute of downtime is costly, StorageCraft offers you choices for backups with products that feature continuous data protection, taking frequent immutable snapshots that can’t be altered or deleted and making it easy to quickly and remotely recover, as well as cloud options that scale with your customers' needs.


Nothing can destroy an MSPs reputation—and its business—faster than a successful cyberattack on its systems. StorageCraft offers innovative solutions for MSPs that let you standardize your offerings while making your business more efficient and profitable. Learn more about StorageCraft’s MSP offerings here.