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The Battle Against Ransomware to Protect the Nation’s Cybersecurity

The federal government has been battling the threat of ransomware for many years. If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you will have noticed that a number of high-profile organizations have fallen victim to various ransomware cyber attacks in recent months as the threat becomes even more prevalent.  

The recent ransomware attacks (Colonial Pipeline and JBS) have caused significant disruption to the oil and food industries, making cybersecurity one of the top priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration – and rightfully so.

Since 2019, ransomware has increased 158% in North America according to the 2021 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report. So, what exactly is ransomware? Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files, thereby making them inaccessible unless a ransom is paid. The consequences of ransomware attacks should not only be alarming to the private sector, but also raise a red flag for the US public sector.

The Impact of Recent Ransomware Attacks 

Cyber attacks through ransom are not only increasing in frequency, they are also becoming more sophisticated. A common tactic is email phishing – an email that contains a malicious link or attachment. Upon gaining access, ransomware can start encrypting files within 3 seconds.

In the last few months we have seen how ransomware can quickly impact our daily lives. The Colonial Pipeline incident, for example, has shown us the ripple effect of one ransomware attack on just one entity. Colonial pipeline is an integral part of the U.S. oil pipeline system and the main fuel supplier for half of the East Coast.

The ransomware attack happened on May 6th, 2021. The malware froze business records, restricted the company from accessing billing systems and restricted the ability to monitor the flow of petroleum to specific locations. Unable to do business, Colonial Pipeline completely shut down the pipeline halting gas, jet fuel, and diesel supply to over 10 US states.

To date, this has been the largest cyberattack on the oil industry in US history with immediate effects:

    • Fuel prices surged 
    • Airlines ran short of jet fuels – flights had to make fueling pit stops on typically nonstop flight routes
    • The general public started panic buying gas

The consequence? Colonial paid $4.4 million in ransom to regain access to their systems. While an estimated value of $2.3 million (63.7 bitcoins) has been recovered, the question is, what signals are we sending by being reactionary versus preparing proactively?

Shortly after the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, the world’s largest beef supplier, JBS, was in a similar predicament. Computer networks were hacked which not only resulted in a temporary shutdown of operational plants in the nation but also caused a comparable ripple effect disrupting the US food industry:

    • Wholesale meat prices increased
    • Food distributors were in need to quickly find new suppliers to meet demand
    • JBS paid $11 million in ransom to avoid further damages

Allan Liska’s (Intelligence Analyst at Recorded Future), predicts that “ransomware attacks are only going to get worse and more pervasive into people’s lives, and they’re not disappearing anytime soon.” We couldn’t agree more!

The problem is businesses as well as government services are becoming more and more reliant on digital networks and software. Therefore, they are more willing to pay ransom if necessary, thereby increasing the incentive for further ransomware attacks. According to the Deloitte Center for Government Insights, “vulnerable networks, critical public services, and paying ransoms can create a positive feedback loop where successful ransomware attacks can encourage more attacks asking for more money.”

What’s more, due to outdated cyber protection, ransomware attacks are becoming easier to execute, which is a particular threat to the US public sector.

The Importance of Data Security in the Federal Government

The US public sector, and, especially the federal government, is not exempt from the ransomware cyber threat. 

Much like any other business in the private sector, the federal government constantly fends off cyberattacks and needs a reliable backup solution for critical information and systems.

In actuality, the federal government is a treasure for cybercriminals. The highly sensitive or classified information stored ranges from personal information on every US citizen to critical information that relates to national security. 

This is why we’ve developed our DoDIN APL certified Acronis SCS Hardened Backup, which provides complete asset protection, reliable operational assurance, and maximum edge data security to the Defense Department and other federal agencies.

The Best Federal Government Defense Against Ransomware

At Acronis SCS, we recognize the increasing complexity of the cyber threat landscape as it pertains to the federal government and, in particular, to the government’s edge – meaning data and systems outside of traditional data centers.

Our Acronis SCS Cyber Backup 12.5 Hardened Backup Edition is specifically designed to keep the US government’s air gapped, ‘no internet’ networks secure and operational. With zero-connectivity, it is the first and only full disk image backup and disaster recovery point solution certified by the Department of Defense Information Network Approved Products List (DoDIN APL).

This reliable backup solution includes built-in anti-ransomware protection which drastically reduces the attack surface and, ultimately, the cybersecurity threat.  

The Benefits of Acronis SCS Hardened Edition:

  1. DoDIN APL Certified
  2. Zero-Connectivity
  3. Drastically Reduced Attack Surface
  4. Endpoint Protection
  5. Anti-Ransomware Protection
  6. 100% US Based Support

In addition to implementing a seamless and cost-effective imaging, backup, and disaster recovery solution, it is important to educate employees on being mindful about what emails they open, attachments they download, and websites they click on.

Combat Ransomware with Acronis SCS Hardened Backup Edition

The battle against ransomware continues – the nation’s cybersecurity is at risk. President Biden has made it a priority and has signed an Executive Order to support the modernization of cybersecurity defenses and better protect federal networks.

Don’t risk being one of the next ransomware attack news headlines. The time to act is now, and with Acronis SCS’s Hardened Backup solution, the US public sector has the perfect defense to reduce the potential of ransomware cybercrime and safeguard our nation’s critical data and infrastructure.    

See how the new DoDIN APL certified Acronis SCS Cyber Backup Hardened is the right solution for you and contact us today!