It’s no longer a secret that ransomware attacks have been on the rise. Whether you’re running a large corporation or a local business, the threat of a catastrophic ransomware attack always looms large.
In fact, there’s been a 62% rise in the number of ransomware attacks worldwide between 2019 and 2020. With organizations embracing remote working overnight due to the pandemic, hackers have been exploiting various loopholes in the infrastructure.
One of the latest companies to join the list of ransomware victims is Accenture. In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into the attack and explore its implications for the global IT consultancy firm. Also, we’ll discuss the steps businesses should take to protect themselves from such attacks.
Cutting the Clutter Around the Accenture Ransomware Attack
While the ransomware attack is likely to have happened sometime around the end of July, Accenture didn’t report the same until August 11, 2021. It all started with a tweet by CNBC reported by Eamon Javers that highlighted the message published on the Dark Web by the hacker group behind the attack.
Accenture quickly followed suit and issued a statement confirming that the company had been hit by a ransomware attack. While the details of the attack are still emerging, what we know is that the LockBit ransomware was used to execute the attack.
LockBit is one of the most sophisticated forms of ransomware that uses AES encryption to block access to system data until a ransom is paid.
While Accenture reassured that there was no impact on their operations or clients’ systems, there have been reports that 2,384 files were released for a short period. The silver lining is that those files remained inaccessible due to a possible domain outage.
It’s worth noting that Accenture swiftly responded to the attack by isolating the affected server. As of this writing, there’s no news about the company paying any ransom to the hacker group.
Other Notable Ransomware Attacks
The LockBit ransomware attack on Accenture isn’t an isolated incident. In 2021 alone, there’s been a slew of such attacks on various established organizations.
Kaseya, a renowned IT management software provider, was under a ransomware attack in July. The attack, executed by the notorious ransomware operator REvil, jeopardized several files containing sensitive information from nearly 2,000 organizations across the globe.
While the hackers demanded a ransom of $70 million, Kaseya mitigated the attack using a decryptor.
Similarly, in May 2021, Colonial Pipeline fell prey to a ransomware attack by DarkSide. It brought the company’s 5,500-mile natural gas pipeline network to a halt, and resulted in fuel outages across more than 10,000 gas stations in Southeastern U.S.
The renowned pipeline operator paid a ransom of $4.4 million in cryptocurrency. Part of the ransom was later recovered by the FBI.
Important Insights for Business Owners
If there’s one lesson you should learn from the recent slew of ransomware attacks, it’s this – no one is immune to such attacks. Even the biggest companies with the most advanced security infrastructure can fall into the trap of ransomware attacks. All it takes is one compromised user account or a minor security loophole.
Also, the impact of these attacks can be catastrophic, particularly on small businesses. These companies often lack dedicated personnel who look after various aspects of cybersecurity. Also, they don’t have the funds to pay hefty ransom amounts. Stalling your business operations due to a ransomware attack will result in further losses.
So, what should you do in the event of a ransomware attack?
To begin with, never agree to pay the ransom. That’s because most hackers demand payments in cryptocurrency, which makes the transactions difficult to trace. Recovering scammed cryptocurrency payments is only possible through specialized services. You can visit https://payback-ltd.com to find more information on the matter.
Even if you pay the ransom, it doesn’t guarantee that the hackers haven’t already sold your company’s data on the Dark Web.
That’s why, instead of paying the ransom, you should focus on preventing ransomware attacks in the first place. Start by educating your employees about the cybersecurity best practices. Also, make sure all the software applications they use are regularly updated.
Additionally, implement role-based access and multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. You could even consider getting cybersecurity liability insurance to deal with the financial repercussions of ransomware attacks.
Lastly, don’t forget to outline an incident response plan to deal with ransomware attacks. Build a team of cybersecurity experts who will help you walk through the crisis. It’s also a good idea to consult a cryptocurrency recovery service about potential solutions to get your money back (if you’ve already paid the ransom).
Adopt a Safety-First Mindset
Ransomware attacks can happen to any organization, irrespective of its size and industry. Even global giants, such as Accenture, aren’t immune to the threat of ransomware. Your best bet is to outline suitable preventive measures and mitigation strategies to deal with such attacks.