Technical Expertise

May 10, 2022   •   5 minute read

Can Businesses Get Hit With Ransomware More Than Once?

As in the case of a virus that strikes the human body, there’s always the chance of a repeat infection to your company’s digital network, though procedural changes and upgraded systems can help prevent malicious intrusions.

In fact, if your business has already been a victim of ransomware, the chances you will get hit with a repeat attack are significantly higher:

  • 80% of businesses that pay a ransom end up suffering a repeat attack, often from the same threat actor. 
  • It takes just five minutes for sophisticated ransomware to encrypt up to 100,000 files, underscoring its severity and speed.
  • According to IT security company Sophos’ State of Ransomware report, 32% of surveyed ransomware victims decided to pay a ransom, but only ​​8% got all their data back and 29% couldn’t recover more than half of their encrypted data. 

“You just went through an event. You’re vulnerable. They come back and do it again. It happens a lot,” says Cybersafe Solutions Vice President of Sales Mark Petersen.

Ransomware attacks prove financially and reputationally detrimental to businesses, making it vital to prepare for—and expect—a repeat attack when companies are most vulnerable: after they’ve already been hit.

Although these repeat strikes can crop up by exploiting a number of vulnerabilities, they often occur due to poor security, lack of continuous monitoring software, or because the hacker never left.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts computer data and systems, denying access until a ransom is paid. A $20 billion global casualty in 2021, ransomware is expected to cost the world an unthinkable $265 billion by 2031, according to an article in Cybercrime Magazine.

Along with the hefty financial losses associated with a ransom—averaging around $170,404 in the United States—a recent survey from Sophos found it cost businesses on average ​​$1.85 million in 2021 to recover from ransomware attacks.

Between financial losses and damaged trust, 60% of victimized small businesses fail within six months of being breached.

As hackers’ tactics evolve, it is paramount businesses invest in continuous monitoring services, cyber insurance, and personnel security training to create a robust cybersecurity strategy.

If your business has already been hit, prioritize your efforts into continued monitoring with the expectation that a repeat ransomware attack is on the horizon.

Why Are Repeat Ransomware Attacks Common?

After a cyberattack, businesses are prime candidates for repeat strikes for a number of reasons, all related to security vulnerabilities. 

“Why do businesses get hit with ransomware twice in the same attack?” asks Cybersafe Solutions Channel Manager Randy Schumaker. “It’s because they didn’t have monitoring, they didn’t have the proper controls in place, and the threat actor never left. They never found them and ejected them.”

Threat Actors Never Left

If a business survives a ransomware attack but neglects preventative monitoring, there is a good chance the threat actor is still in the environment, able to encrypt, copy, and exfiltrate more data.

A sobering report by independent research center Ponemon Institute, commissioned by internet security firm Team Cymru, found that half of the surveyed organizations experienced disruptive cyber attacks from repeat threat actors, and 61% percent said they “did not remediate the compromises.” 

Not only does this report emphasize that many companies fall victim to more than one attack from the same intruder, but they failed to leverage the previous incident to gain valuable insight into future attacks.

Although passwords can be changed and data can (sometimes) be recovered, without continuous monitoring and proper remediation, threat actors can persist in the environment for easy repeat strikes.

Poor Cybersecurity Posture

Along with the failure to learn from past breaches, the leading reason why businesses fall victim to another ransomware attack is poor cybersecurity posture and particularly, the absence of continuous monitoring software.

No cybersecurity defense strategy is complete without continuous monitoring, a service providing 24/7/365 full visibility into a company’s security posture and threat activity. 

Cutting-edge extended detection and response software specializes in managed risk detection, response, and containment, monitoring endpoints (laptops, computers, tablets), network activity, and the cloud to locate and neutralize threats before they become costly attacks.

Without 360-degree visibility into real-time system activity and adversary behavior, your business remains at the whim of an attack—expected every two seconds by 2031, according to an account from industry researcher Cybersecurity Ventures

Lack of Proper Security Measures In Place

Whether purchasing cyber insurance or training employees in password protection, comprehensive continuous monitoring services must be bolstered by an upheld company culture that proactively prioritizes cybersecurity.

While state-of-the-art cybersecurity providers can be trusted to ward off repeat attacks, it is paramount victimized businesses holistically internalize lessons learned from a breach, carrying forward best practices such as network segmentation, phishing recognition and reporting, using strong passwords, updating systems regularly, and more.

Without insurance or maintenance of basic security practices, employees create easy opportunities for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities.

Curb Repeat Attacks With Continuous Monitoring Software

“How do you help your company avoid becoming part of the growing ransomware statistics or tomorrow's headline?” Schumaker says. “All roads lead back to continuous monitoring.” 

Through a robust continuous monitoring solution that detects, analyzes, responds to incidents, and contains threats, your company can proactively guard against repeat attacks and protect valuable assets.

While it might be intuitive for businesses to hire new IT or security staff following an attack, the more prudent action may be to seek out the services of seasoned cybersecurity professionals.

Not only will a specialized team of experts bring years of experience, but hiring out actually saves money.

“To do this yourself is cost-prohibitive,” Petersen says, emphasizing the importance of investing in your business. “You can hire an organization like Cybersafe for a fraction of the cost, without all the nonsense, without all the headaches, to monitor your organization 24/7/365. You don’t have to worry about buying software.”

To protect your business against ransomware and other detrimental cyberattacks, it is vital to invest in a continuous monitoring solution such as Cybersafe. 

Our state-of-the-art security provides 360-degree visibility into your company’s security posture at all times, seamlessly detecting when a threat has penetrated the network and containing it

With more than 20 years of experience in the cybersecurity landscape, our expert team of certified specialists utilizes ​​cutting-edge technology to guard against cyber adversaries. Contact us today to learn more.