High Ransomware Concerns Among Executives

A considerable majority of around 86.7% of the C-suite and other executives stated that they are expecting a surge in the number of cyberattacks targeting their organizations in the next 12 months as per a recent poll by Deloitte. In addition to that, 64.8% of the polled executives said that ransomware is a cyber threat that is one of the biggest concerns to their organizations over the next 12 months, but only a few are ready to tackle ransomware attacks, according to the survey conducted by Deloitte.

Only 33.3% of the total audience has said that they have simulated ransomware attacks to prepare for such an incident. To have an idea of the preparedness of an organization to address ransomware attacks, Norton mentioned that business leaders can ask specific questions specially meant to probe the depth of the cyber program’s ransomware detection, prevention, and response capabilities.

Questions that leaders can ask to gauge their organizations’ preparation to tackle ransomware consist of:

Does our organization conduct a threat hunt to help manage ransomware risk?

Large scale organizations are taking the initiative to tackle cyber risk management by proactively working to identify new attack patterns and new attackers before they can cause any high scale damage. With the uncovering of undetected ransomware, malware, and other major cyber threats, potential effects can be investigated and remediated in a timely manner.

Does our organization fully appreciate how ransomware attackers could exploit our use of emerging technologies to propagate attacks? Are we taking advantage of emerging technologies to better protect our organization from those threats?

Certain technologies that organizations are implementing as part of their digital transformations appear to benefit attackers in different ways, but defenders can use them for the advantage of organizations as well. It is important for companies to understand how these technologies may increase their cyber risk exposure and how defenders boost security by using them.

Does our organization’s cyber incident response plan consider ransomware attacks specifically?

Leading organizations have created and tested cyber incident response plans, but not every organization has one, and not all of them directly address various kinds of ransomware attacks.

How does our organization test ransomware vulnerabilities?

Continuous penetration testing can also help in identifying attack surface vulnerabilities and paths to critical systems and assets. Along with that, business continuity/disaster recovery testing can confirm that redundant backups are all set to lend helping hands to business resiliency as per the requirement. As ransomware can propagate via a technology infrastructure, recovery plans and traditional backup may not be sufficient. Moreover, testing ransomware incident response plans through simulations or other similar methods can also help the leaders across an organization create ‘muscle memory’ around roles, responsibilities, and protocols in case of an attack.

Had our organization considered adopting Zero Trust to help strengthen cybersecurity against threats like ransomware?

Eliminating automatic or inherited trust given to networks, users, workloads, and devices can help organizations fill the security gaps caused due to digital transformation. Other factors that contribute to this scenario are rapid cloud adoption, M&A activity, and continued remote work. These act as the easiest vulnerabilities for ransomware attackers.

About the online survey

Photo Curt Aubley, Managing Director at Deloitte
“Over the past 12-18 months, executives across industries and sectors have witnessed – and increasingly experienced first-hand – the jaw-dropping frequency, sophistication, cost, and both economic and operational impacts of ransomware attacks,” said Curt Aubley, Managing Director at Deloitte.

During a webinar on cyber threat detection and response, which took place on June 24, 2021, more than 50 C-suite and other executives were surveyed online. Executives who took part in the survey were in positions of leadership in areas such as corporate boards (36.7 percent), IT (34.4 percent), risk management (12.2 percent), and privacy and security (6.7 percent). Each question had a different percentage of people answering correctly.

“Over the past 12-18 months, executives across industries and sectors have witnessed – and increasingly experienced first-hand – the jaw-dropping frequency, sophistication, cost, and both economic and operational impacts of ransomware attacks,” said Curt Aubley, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory detect and respond practice leader and managing director, Deloitte. “As some ransomware can evade antivirus tools and attackers find more ways to pressure victims to pay ransoms, these attacks often have national and global repercussions. There’s no time to waste when it comes to honing and testing incident response programs for ransomware and other cyber events.”

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