Mitigating Ransomware Attacks In The Post-Pandemic World

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If organisations, regardless of their size, are not proactive in preventing such attacks, these trends are likely to continue even after the pandemic subsides.

By Suraj Kotipalli, APAC Business Leader, Content & Data Intelligence Solutions, Hitachi Vantara

Ransomware attacks are plaguing the cyber world. Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files until a ransom is paid. Criminals also threaten to make data public if victims refuse to comply. In Southeast Asia, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a worrying rise in such attacks. According to an industry report, “evolving” ransomware groups in the region are targeting to blackmail public and private organisations in the manufacturing, retail, and healthcare sectors. If organisations, regardless of their size, are not proactive in preventing such attacks, these trends are likely to continue even after the pandemic subsides.

Rising Ransomware Attacks

The increase in ransomware incidents over the past year can be attributed to the surge in digital adoption and remote working due to Covid-19 lockdowns. Unfortunately, home networks are not designed with the kind of security measures that protect organisational networks. It leaves employees and their organisations vulnerable to risks. Since last year, hackers have resorted to COVID-19-themed emails to lure unsuspecting users. These could be fake email announcements from official entities, such as government bodies or the World Health Organisation, updates on industry trends, and requests from charity organisations with malicious attachments. Once opened, these emails and links can provide hackers with a gateway into an organisation’s database.


Organisations are nervous about the agility and skills of the hackers, where ransomware attacks are not just limited to the primary data but also the data in backups. The emergence of ransomware-as-a-service business model among criminals allows the leasing of ransomware, thus increasing the number of potential hackers.

Adopting An Effective Ransomware Strategy

Communications and Policy: Organisations must develop a strong ransomware strategy, given the sophistication of recent attacks and consequential losses. Such a strategy needs clear communications, proactive measures, and effective cybersecurity tools that minimise data loss. As a first step, companies should create a response plan in the event of data loss. It involves training employees to identify suspicious emails and attachments, assigning responsibility for communicating with relevant stakeholders, and reviewing the company’s cyber-insurance policy.

Data Encryption and Multifactor Authentication: Keep data encrypted regardless of where it is stored. Should you decide to back up data on the cloud, use encryption to ensure that your data is well protected during the transfer. Implement multifactor authentication on all company accounts, VPN access, IP address whitelisting, and external applications.

Protect End-user Data and Branch offices:  Data on end-user laptops, mobiles, or desktops, being in remote and branch offices is the most vulnerable for ransomware attacks. Adopt solutions that enable employees to automatically sync data to the central data center, and the ability to recover the data in the event of an attack should be an integral part of the ransomware mitigation plan.

Ensure Backups are Safe and Data Immutable:  Adopt technologies that automatically secure backup data from ransomware attacks and maintain data immutability.  This is the only last line of defense to recover data in the event of a ransomware attack.  Organisations are adopting object storage solutions and a hybrid-cloud strategy to ensure the data is always secure and available, both on-prem and off-prem locations.

Hitachi Vantara partners with customers in effectively tackling ransomware attacks and ensures that the data is always safe. We provide solutions for edge-core-cloud so that data is always secure regardless of where it is stored.


About the author: Suraj Kotipalli is APAC Business Leader for Content and Data Intelligence Solutions at Hitachi Vantara with a focus on helping customers modernise their Datacenters, Applications and accelerate their overall Digital Transformation. He joined Hitachi Vantara in 2017 and lead a team of Solution Experts in APAC region.

Suraj has more than 2 decades of rich versatile experience where he held several Technology and Sales leadership roles in APAC. Prior to Hitachi Vantara, he worked for Microsoft Corporation for 14 years. An Engineering graduate in computers, Suraj is passionate about Technology and obsessed with Customer and Partner success.


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