2021 can be defined as the year of ransomware Attacks because ransom requests have reached record numbers: initial requests are averaging $ 5.3 million (a 518% increase compared to 2020), while the amounts paid are around $ 570,000 (+ 82% compared to 2020).
The exorbitant figure of 20 billion dollars is the estimate, calculated for 2021, of the cost of damage caused by these kinds of threats. Furthermore, according to the most updated data, in Italy, there were 28 million malware attacks in the first 6 months of 2021.
Examining some specific cases of Italian companies affected by these attacks gives a better understanding of what can be done to prevent threats and avoid losing all data.
The case of San Carlo (a well-known company that produces snack chips) is exemplary because it makes us understand the importance of data backup procedures: the potato chip giant was hit by a ransomware attack that blocked the company’s computer systems in a similar way to what happened to the Lazio Region and Site in recent months.
The damage was limited because San Carlo was able to restore the systems quickly by activating all the security procedures necessary to isolate and contain the threat.
Despite this, files such as identity documents, financial information and contracts would have been stolen from the company: the company is still trying to quantify the damage suffered.
The well-known Italian footwear company Geox has suffered numerous attacks, the last of which was in June 2020. In this case, the logistics department, eCommerce, and corporate email system were paralyzed; according to what was reconstructed by the national newspapers, there would have been no theft of sensitive data, but Geox would have received a ransom request to obtain the unlocking of all systems and encrypted data.
The frequency of these attacks could be related to the fact that the company had collaborated with the Postal Police to dismantle a fake website pretending to be the company’s official outlet a few months before the attacks.
More recently, MediaMarkt, one of the largest European distributors of consumer electronics proprietary to the MediaWorld brand, has also been under a ransomware attack.
In this case, the attack would have affected the servers connected to the physical stores and not the eCommerce, since in many shops in Europe, the cash registers could not accept credit cards or print receipts; furthermore, it was not possible to make returns due to the impossibility of consulting previous purchases made by customers.
This problem also involved the Italian division MediaWorld, precisely in Black Friday.
How To Defend Against Ransomware Attacks
Recovering encrypted data may be possible by turning to industry experts such as Recovery Data; however, companies should adopt best practices to prevent these threats and reduce damage as much as possible.
In summary, these are the rules to follow:
- Staff training in the management of security credentials and the use of all IT tools;
- Constant updating and monitoring of all systems, from network devices to servers, PCs and devices connected to your data network;
- Use of reliable anti-virus and anti-malware solutions ;
- IT security policies adapted to work and data flow;
- Preparation of an efficient backup system
The article is realized with the contribution of experts in data recovery company Data Recovery.