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10 Lessons Learned From The Biggest Ransomware Attacks

CRN asks technical leaders at IBM Security, Malwarebytes and Symantec about what organizations need to do differently going forward to avoid becoming the victim of ransomware attacks.

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Ask Adversary For References And Check Them

Businesses that have a communication channel with the adversaries carrying out a ransomware attack should ask for references, which the more legitimate threat actors are likely to provide, according to Caleb Barlow, vice president of threat intelligence at Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Security.

If the adversary provides the names of some of the other companies they've attacked, Barlow said the victim organization can call those businesses and get information about the extent of the impact and how the threat actor responds to the payment of ransom. This additional information can help the victim in deciding whether or not to pay the ransom, Barlow said.

Even the way in which the adversary responds – or doesn't respond – to the request for references can provide a better understanding of who's on the other side, Barlow said. For instance, a lack of response might indicate that the victim was hit as part of a broader ransomware attack, raising questions around the likelihood of the data being unlocked even if a ransom payment is made.

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