FBI Director Christopher Wray made waves recently when, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he compared the threat of ransomware to global terrorism after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001: “There are a lot of parallels, there’s a lot of importance, and a lot of focus by us on disruption and prevention. There’s a shared responsibility, not just across government agencies but across the private sector and even the average American.”
Let’s take a look at what’s been going on in the ransomware scene recently:
- On May 7, Colonial Pipeline Company, which supplies nearly half of the U.S. East Coast’s petroleum was hit by a ransomware attack due to a single compromised password that forced it to shut down some systems and temporarily suspend all pipeline operations, triggering panic-buying of gasoline.
- In early June, a ransomware attack on JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, forced the shutdown of nine U.S. beef plants and disrupted production at poultry and pork plants.
- Shortly after the JBS incident, a ransomware attack forced an Iowa Community College to cancel classes for four days.
- NPR reports that the U.S. suffered 65,000 ransomware attacks last year, a rate exceeding seven per hour.
- The line between “ransomware attack” and “data breach” is quickly being erased. Coveware estimates that 77% of ransomware attacks involve a threat to leak exfiltrated data, a tactic known as “double extortion.”
- And that’s not all. A brand-new threat — triple extortion — has emerged. Should the threat of a data leak not move your organization to give in, cybercriminals may launch a DDoS attack and take your systems down, both for spite and to “encourage” you to pay up.
These are only a few examples; we could do this all day. If the U.S. isn’t experiencing a ransomware crisis right now, what more will it take?
It All Comes Back to Passwords
The Coveware study found that about 75% of ransomware attacks involve compromised login credentials, most of them remote desktop protocol (RDP) credentials.
Password security plays a starring role in the recent White House Executive Order on cybersecurity, which, among other things, mandates that U.S. federal agencies use multi-factor authentication (MFA) and encryption.
Ransomware attacks aren’t abating. The time is now for federal agencies to implement an enterprise-grade password manager, get their password security under control and reduce their risks of a ransomware attack. Keeper’s zero-knowledge, FedRAMP-in-process password security and encryption platform gives IT administrators complete visibility into employee password practices, enabling them to monitor password use and enforce password security policies organization-wide, including strong, unique passwords and MFA. Fine-grained access controls allow administrators to set employee permissions based on their roles and responsibilities, as well as set up shared folders for individual groups, such as job classifications or project teams.
Keeper takes only minutes to deploy, requires minimal ongoing management, and scales to meet the needs of any size agency.
Want to find out more about how Keeper can help your organization prevent security breaches? Contact our team today at +1 202.946.4575 or reach out to us @ firstname.lastname@example.org.