Today, ransomware is a growing threat to online users everywhere, targeting businesses, organizations, and individuals alike. In fact, some estimates put the total global costs of ransomware at around $20 billion, affecting around 37% of businesses in 2021. Most concerningly, these figures are predicted to rise as ransomware threats become more prevalent and more sophisticated.

However, with the rise of cloud-based servers and data storage, many people hope to avoid ransomware threats by entrusting their data with third parties. The idea is that if a company does not store its data, then it cannot be held to ransom! Unfortunately, things are rarely this simple, and ransomware protection in the Cloud is still an important part of cybersecurity.

Here, we look at why cloud-based data needs ransomware protection, what this kind of protection looks like and how businesses can ensure their information is safe when using cloud storage.

Cloud Storage is Not Immune to Ransomware Attacks

Most commonly, ransomware attacks can affect cloud storage during file synchronization processes. As files are uploaded, downloaded, and updated, data is sent across the Internet. When a local file is infected with ransomware, that information is also shared with the Cloud.

This means that businesses using shared cloud storage for multiple staff are vulnerable to ransomware attacks since a single user can potentially infect all the data being held in the Cloud. Additionally, with the rise of remote working, businesses are also vulnerable when staff use their own devices that may not offer the same protections as those distributed by an IT team.

Known Ransomware Attacks on the Cloud

While many users have been under the impression that Cloud-based data is better protected than conventional server data, several ransomware attacks in recent times have proved this to be untrue. These include but are not limited to:

  • Jigsaw Ransomware— A variant of ransomware targeting Microsoft OneDrive and encrypts local drives before syncing with the Cloud to encrypt all files stored.
  • Petya Ransomware— Targeting Dropbox cloud storage, Petya ransomware infects storage by asking the user to follow a link which then uploads the ransomware to the Cloud.
  • Ransomcloud — Designed to attack Cloud-based email, Ransomcloud encrypts cloud storage services like Office 365 and G Suite. Again, it uses a phishing-type email and link to infect the servers.

Protecting Data in the Cloud

Implementing regular hard data backups of business information remains the most effective way of thwarting ransom attacks. Put simply, if there is an offline copy of all data, then a ransomware attacker has no leverage to demand payment. This should be a fundamental part of any cybersecurity program for businesses everywhere, ensuring data integrity against all types of cybersecurity threats.

In addition to this, however, advanced detection technology can also be implemented for Cloud servers in the same way as traditional servers. This helps provide a firewall against cybersecurity threats, identifying abnormal traffic, signatures, and file behaviors to stop ransomware at the source.

In conclusion, simply switching to Cloud-based servers does not necessarily protect businesses from ransomware attacks. As Cloud-based threats become more advanced, implementing a robust cybersecurity program that covers online and offline data remains crucial.