Cloud extortion schemes: could your business become a victim?

In today’s digital world, the risk of cyber attacks has increased exponentially. Businesses must take extra precautions to protect their data and systems from cyber criminals and malicious actors.

Cloud extortion schemes are fast becoming one of the most dangerous and pervasive threats. A recent security research report identified extortion schemes are dominating the business threat landscape, rising by 5% from last year.

By understanding the threat posed by cloud extortion schemes, you can take steps to protect your organization and mitigate the risk of becoming a victim. This includes implementing strong cybersecurity measures, regularly updating software and systems and training employees on cybersecurity best practices.

What is a cloud extortion scheme?

Cloud extortion is a type of cyber-attack in which criminals use malicious software, known as extortionware, to gain access to a company’s network and then hold the data hostage. The criminals will threaten to delete or publish the data if their ransom demands are not met.

This type of attack is particularly dangerous because the perpetrators can target sensitive data, including financial information, customer records and confidential documents. The attackers may also target systems that are critical to the functioning of the business, such as servers, databases and networks.

How is extortionware different from ransomware?

Although extortionware and ransomware are very similar types of cyber-attacks, they have key differences. Both are a type of malicious software which steals data and then demands payment in exchange for its return.

However, ransomware forces the business to pay up or completely lose the stolen data, while extortionware attackers threaten to publicly release the data.

Many recent ransomware variants include extortionware features, such as double extortion ransomware, in which malicious actors encrypt or lock access to systems, and threaten to release the data.

Is extortionware dangerous?

Cloud extortion schemes can be very risky for businesses of all sizes and industries. When the attackers gain access to sensitive data and systems, it can cause significant financial and reputational damage to the company. In the worst-case scenario, the attackers may be able to completely disrupt the company’s operations, leading to costly downtime.

However, ransomware is still much more common than extortion schemes. This is due to the fact that cybercriminals can automate ransomware and cast a wide victim net, while extortionware requires more hands-on effort and a targeted approach.

How to prevent a cloud extortion attack

There are several steps businesses can take to protect themselves from cloud extortion schemes. The first step is to implement an offline backup solution, and ensure all employees are creating daily backups. This way, in the event of a cloud extortion attack, any stolen data can be restored.

Implementing strong cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software and multi-factor authentication, is also vital. These measures can help to reduce the risk of an attack and can also make it more difficult for the attackers to gain access to the company’s data and systems.

It is also important to regularly update software and systems. Outdated software can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, so it is essential to keep all software up to date. This includes any applications and operating systems used in the business.

Finally, it is important to educate employees on cyber security best practices. Employees should be trained on how to recognize phishing emails and other suspicious activity. They should also be aware of the risks of cloud extortion schemes and the steps they can take to protect the business.

Implementing cloud security best practices

Implementing the right cloud security best practices will help organizations protect their data and maintain compliance with industry regulations.

First and foremost, encrypting data stored in the cloud is a key security measure. This ensures only authorized parties can access the data, even if the cloud system is breached.

User access controls will ensure only users with the necessary access rights can access the data stored in the cloud. This includes setting up multiple levels of authorization with appropriate permissions for each user.

Finally, it is important to have a comprehensive security strategy which covers all aspects of cloud security. This strategy should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it is effective and up to date with the latest security measures.

Defend your cloud environment from extortion schemes

By implementing strong cybersecurity measures, businesses can protect themselves from the dangers of cloud extortion schemes, and ensure data and systems remain secure. Encrypting data, limiting user access, regularly backing up data, implementing a multi-factor authentication system and regularly updating cloud-based applications are all essential steps to protecting an organization’s data.

The cybersecurity specialists at BCS365 can audit your systems and network for any vulnerabilities, recommend a robust security strategy, deploy the solutions across your environment, and fully monitor and manage your security needs for maximum defense.