Mitigating the Business Impact of Ransomware

The first installment in a three-part blog series

Part 1: The Rise of Ransomware

Mitigating the Business Impact of Ransomware. In May 2021, Colonial Pipeline, which supplies fuel to about 45% of the eastern United States, was the target of a ransomware attack. Though the attack was mainly directed at the company’s billing infrastructure, the broader business impact was significant. The company decided to shut down all 5,500 miles of its pipelines as it attempted to gauge the extent of the breach. It also paid approximately $5 million to the hackers (in Bitcoin, much of which was eventually recovered by the FBI) and finally resumed service 6 days after the shutdown. But by that time, over 10,000 gas stations in the southeast were still empty and the average price of gasoline in the U.S. had risen to an all-time high.

Mitigating the Business Impact of Ransomware
Mitigating the Business Impact of Ransomware
Mitigating the Business Impact of Ransomware

A study by blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reveals that the malware from Darkside, the same organization that infiltrated Colonial Pipeline, had affected almost 100 other firms – 47% of whom paid ransoms, at an average of $1.9 million each.

According to IDC’s “2021 Ransomware Study”, 37% of global firms experienced some type of ransomware attack in 2021. In the first 6 months of 2021, the FBI had received over 2,000 ransomware complaints, a 62% increase from the previous year. In addition, the introduction of pre-packaged “ransomware-as-a-service” delivery options have made it possible to attack not just an individual organization, but its entire supply chain, disabling tens of firms and potentially thousands of customers in one shot. By 2021, such techniques led ransomware to become a $20 billion global business, according to research firm Cybersecurity Venturesand this number is expected to reach $265 billion worldwide by 2031.

Mitigating the Business Impact of Ransomware

Coming up in Part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss how ransomware evolved into the threat it is today. What were the vulnerabilities in IT operations that cyber criminals were able exploit? What are some popular means of combatting and recovering from ransomware attacks, and how successful are they in minimizing the business impact? We’ll look at backups to disk and the cloud and the potential advantages and shortfalls with these methods.

Ransomware attacks are one of the many threats that can disrupt operations, compromise sensitive data and result in financial loss. DDN IntelliFlash is a unified storage platform that offers a full set of enterprise data services that protect against downtime and data loss, while maximizing performance and efficiency for concurrent file and block workloads – all with a single license. Learn more. 

  • Ram Narayanan
  • Director, Product Marketing
  • Date: March 15, 2022

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