Economic Sanctions vs Cybersecurity

With growing tensions between the Ukraine and Russia, and the US’s responsive economic sanctions on Russia, you may be surprised to learn how much this can affect the future of cybersecurity. It may not be on the forefront of your mind, but that doesn’t make the impact any less palpable for businesses in the US, whether it be a government health sector or a small candle-making business in Tennessee. 

The new rapid onslaught of sanctions the US has imposed on Russia are intended to slow their war efforts and encourage a retreat, effectively ending the war and allowing rebuild efforts to return Ukraine to a state of peace. However, because of the amount of ransomware attacks that are sourced out of Russian bitcoin offices, it’s now much harder to pay off cybercriminals if they’ve already gotten into your system and knocked it offline.

Thorough cybersecurity is more vital now than ever before to protect your business against ransomware.

What is ransomware and how do Russian sanctions affect them?

Ransomware is a kind of malware that can disable access to a system or steal and encrypt data within the infrastructure. The attacker will then ransom the owner of the system with the threat of either keeping them permanently locked out or having all personal data published and leaked to other criminals unless they pay them a specified amount of money.

Of course, ransomware attacks are end-game, and it’s best to have a multi-layered cybersecurity program nailed in place to prevent losing your business’s reputation and profit. By the time a cybercriminal has locked you out of your system or stolen your data, it’s too late for preventative measures. Many businesses are forced to just pay the ransom and speak to their insurance companies about coverage, but new requirements instated by US law may also require victims to report the attack to authorities. 

But what does this have to do with the recent Russian sanctions?

Well, Russia is the prime source for ransomware attacks. 74% of ransomware revenue goes to Russia-linked hackers, according to a recent report by the BBC. By sanctioning US and Russian business relations, those already affected by Russian ransomware have fewer options to work with. Paying off the ransoms, if sourced by a Russian IP, could potentially lead to legal action being taken against the victim, according to this report by the Wall Street Journal. Even if businesses choose to report ransomware attacks as they’ve been asked, no immediate action can be taken due to how tricky it is to track cyberattackers. Even if businesses choose to pay it regardless of the consequences, if they turn to their insurance companies to seek compensation, insurance companies will impede the process at the risk of being a third party to a US and Russian transaction.

How do I prevent my business from being affected by ransomware?

Ransomware is an increasingly popular form of cyberattack because it’s the most lucrative and only takes about four hours to infect your entire system. Cybercriminals target anyone anywhere– as long as your business has an exposed vulnerability, you are at high risk to be their next victim. To keep your data and your access safe, you need to iron out those vulnerabilities and close off any loose ends.

But how do you even know where to begin? Do you know if your system is currently at risk?

The good news is, you don’t have to have all the answers.

At Coopertive Systems, we go the extra mile when it comes to cybersecurity. We’re a next level,  CompTIA Security+ certified MSP, proudly working with small to medium business owners to create cybersecurity programs made just for them and their unique infrastructures. The best form of cybersecurity is one that’s multi-level, thorough, and advanced in the ever-evolving world of technology. 

It’s imperative now, more than ever, to invest healthily in cybersecurity to prevent being stuck in an a sanctioned ransom with no definitive way out.

Want to learn more about preventative measures against ransomware?

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