Malware & Ransomware Protection

How Encryption at Rest and In Use Stymies Ransomware Gangs

rectangle Written by: Matthew Delman rectangle 2 5 min read

Ransomware is one of the biggest challenges facing the modern organization. Threat actors breach critical systems to exfiltrate data, encrypt critical files, and extort organizations in order to decrypt their systems and get back to work. Between ransomware attacks originating within the supply chain and threat actors discovering new ways to achieve their goal of reaching the domain controller, it’s a stressful time to be in security and protecting enterprise information assets.

The number of ransomware attacks has remained stubbornly high, reaching 314 million in 2023, according to recent research. Verizon’s new data breach investigation report found that 32% of attacks included ransomware in some capacity, a significant portion of security incidents.

Between double and triple extortion ransomware events, the costs of a breach can easily extend past the $4.45 million in direct costs that IBM noted in their 2023 report. Organizations need to take any steps they can to protect their critical data from ransomware gangs. Some of the most important steps is encrypting your data at rest and in use to make any exfiltrated data useless to threat actors.


Data Encryption at Rest Guards Sensitive Information In Storage

Data encryption at rest is robust defense of critical information in storage, whether this is cloud storage or an on-premises server or hard drive. This lock-and-key digital system scrambles critical data using complex algorithms, making it unreadable without the decryption key. Even if a hacker breaches your system and gains access to your storage devices, the encrypted data will be useless to them. They’d need the decryption key, which ideally should be stored securely and separately on a different system.

Encryption at rest is designed to render stolen data useless. Even if a physical device like a laptop or server is lost or stolen, the information within remains secure. This is particularly important for businesses with remote workforces or those that handle sensitive data on portable devices.

Encryption at rest thus makes it so threat actors can’t use any data they grab from your systems. This eliminates the possibility of triple-extortion attacks where the demand is to keep the data secret and not leak it. Encrypted information is not useful to threat actors, and can’t be released on the dark web for additional monetary gain or released to the public on data leak sites.

Encryption in Use Prevents Attacks from Interrupting Flows

Encryption in use acts like a secure tunnel for your data in motion. It scrambles the information as it moves from one location to another, making it practically invisible to any eavesdroppers potentially lurking on the network. This ensures that even if someone intercepts the data in transit, they won’t be able to decipher it without the decryption key that’s only available to the intended recipient.

Encryption in use is akin to placing a sensitive letter inside a locked box before sending it, adding an extra layer of security and making it much more difficult for anyone unintended to access the message. This reduces the chance of threat actors accessing data as it flows between systems within the enterprise, allowing you to be confident that your data is securely accessible no matter where you access it from.


Why You Need Both Types of Data Encryption

By implementing both encryption at rest and in transit, you create a layered defense against ransomware. Threat actors would need to either steal the decryption key in addition to your data, or find a way to decrypt the information themselves. This makes it more complicated to make your data valuable to them, and could reduce the possibility of you experiencing a data breach.

Threat actors are generally opportunistic, especially the financially motivated ones, and any sort of additional difficulty added into their workflow makes them look for a different target. Using both encryption at rest and in use means that you’ve made your systems a more complex target and thus less attractive.

Moreover, encryption at rest and in transit helps you comply with relevant data security regulations like GDPR and HIPAA. Adding in those key protections on critical information thus ensures compliance with applicable regulations for further security.


How Sotero Protects You Against Ransomware

Sotero’s data protection platform is designed to combat the evolving threat of ransomware and other threats to your data. It uses advanced behavior-based anomaly detection to identify even zero-day ransomware threats and block their spread into your cloud infrastructure. With Sotero’s patented advanced in-use encryption and data access controls, Sotero helps block the ability of ransomware-based threats to steal sensitive information.

Sotero’s Ransomware Protection solution further addresses the growing challenge of malware and ransomware attacks with a combination of signature and behavior-based analytics powered by advanced machine learning (ML) algorithms. This approach allows Sotero to detect and shut down malicious activity, including zero-day attacks, in as little as 120 seconds.

To learn how you can stop ransomware attacks before they can take down your organization, contact a data security specialist today!


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