Ransomware is hitting small businesses hard. But most of the legislation, regulations, and headlines focus on large businesses. The math is simple -- large businesses impact many end-users, and they have lots of money to pay lobbyists, so they wind up stealing the show when it comes to ransomware. But what about the local print shop, deli, or accounting office? Even though small businesses are suffering from ransomware 70 percent more often than large businesses (according to the Cyber Edge 2022 Cyberthreat Report), government regulations haven’t changed to accommodate them.
In his latest byline, GroupSense CEO Kurtis Minder writes about ransomware in small businesses in BetaNews. In the article, he examines a new benchmark goal from the justice department, outlining why he thinks it won't be a win for small businesses, and how legislation often forgets such a large part of the American economy. He also outlines Do's and Dont's for small businesses. Check out the full article here.
What to Do and Not Do
It’s not all doom and gloom for small businesses. There are things they should do (and not do!) that will make a ransomware attack a survivable event. Here’s a list of dos and don’ts:
- Report the issue to the law enforcement. The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are helpful and can provide you with intelligence on who attacked you, based on other reports they’ve gotten.
- Enact your incident response plan. You may not have one, but you should. This can either be owned by the IT person or a firm that is outsourced.
- Engage professionals. Your law firm, a PR firm and a professional ransomware responder will eliminate a lot of the "groping around in the dark" that is typical with these kinds of attacks.
- Contact your insurance provider. Normal business liability policies don’t cover these kinds of attacks, but if you have cyber insurance, you’ll want to know from your insurer how you should behave so that you can maximize the chances of collecting.
- Monitor for your data. Modern ransomware attacks involve stealing your data in addition to encrypting the data you use. You’ll want to make sure your data isn’t showing up elsewhere, like on the dark web, both during and after an attack.
- Engage on your own. There are professionals that can help you manage the risks associated with engaging with the ransomware actors.
- Panic. It can be pretty devastating to receive a notice from a threat actor that your data is being held hostage. You need to realize there are options -- the key is to make a plan and stick with it.
- Get overconfident. It’s great if you’ve backed up your data and are confident you can restore it and foil the bad guys, but there may be things you didn’t think of. For example, threat actors routinely take a copy of as much of your organization's data as they can access, which can be used for extortion, and the release of that data can cause brand and customer confidence issues, employee attrition, morale issues, and compromise intellectual property.
- Ignore OFAC regulations. The threat actor may be under OFAC sanctions. It is important to understand this as soon as possible to inform your decision about whether you should engage.
- Shut down. Your first instinct usually is to shut machines down until you figure things out. But this can cause file corruption and make it harder to respond to the incident.