The 5 Myths of Ransomware Protection

Najaf Husain, Cofounder, Elastio

Ransomware attacks constitute a business pandemic, breaching even the most secure cloud environments. Data, a company’s most crucial asset, is the prime target. Alarmingly, there’s a 62% CAGR12 in ransomware attacks, hitting 620M attacks in 2021. Over 50% of businesses fell victim to these attacks last year, a number projected by Gartner to soar to 75% by 20252.  This risk, jeopardizing reputation and survival, is a board-level crisis. Businesses suffer significant losses due to the misconception that the five outlined myths can eliminate ransomware attacks.

5 Myths of Ransomware Protection

Myth 1: Perimeter security eliminates my risk of Ransomware.

In the battle against ransomware, perimeter security tools like Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and End Point systems, while essential, are not foolproof, especially in the cloud. Deflecting 100% of threats, 100% of the time, against billions of annual attacks is a monumental challenge.  The malicious actors only need to get through to your data once.

Cloud-based ransomware attacks target storage services, databases, and applications, often exploiting misconfigurations, lax security practices, or zero-day vulnerabilities. Even seemingly secure cloud environments are vulnerable due to overlooked security protocols or public access to storage buckets.

Regular updates and patching for cloud services are critical, as cybercriminals exploit unpatched vulnerabilities for ransomware attacks. The complexity of cloud ecosystems amplifies the challenge; connections with on-premises systems and third-party applications create potential ransomware vectors. Additionally, zero-day vulnerabilities, unknown to vendors, provide entry points that evade traditional perimeter defenses.

Even with advanced endpoint protection, malicious actors use polymorphic malware and social engineering to bypass security measures. Ransomware, once infiltrated, can seamlessly propagate, crossing cloud boundaries. Recognizing these challenges is crucial; the fight against ransomware demands a multifaceted, adaptive approach that goes beyond conventional perimeter security tools to protect sensitive enterprise data effectively. 

Myth 2: Anomaly detection eliminates my risk of Ransomware.

While anomaly detection incorporating file changes and entropy is essential, more is needed for ransomware detection, often leading to excessive false positives and negatives. Anomaly detection, powered by machine learning and stats, highlights unusual patterns and raises alarms. However, relying solely on it to thwart ransomware is perilous.

Modern ransomware operates covertly, mimicking regular activity until it strikes. Anomalies might only surface after the damage, not equating to finding the ransomware itself. The critical task lies in identifying the ransomware code within the files. Anomaly detection often triggers false alarms, mainly where normal behavior varies significantly, risking oversight of genuine threats.

Myth 3: Immutability and Air Gap eliminate my risk of Ransomware.

Ransomware attacks pose a significant threat, especially in how they compromise live data, spreading through snapshots and replicated copies even compromising supposedly secure immutable backups. 

While immutability and air gapping appear foolproof, they have vulnerabilities. Ransomware can infiltrate systems, lying in wait during the hidden period before striking, infecting backups even when they’re supposed to be isolated. Restoring from compromised backups reinstates the ransomware. It underscores the need for verifying source data integrity. 

Moreover, human errors and insider threats can disrupt air-gapped solutions if manual involvement is required. As ransomware evolves, so must our defenses. Relying solely on immutability and air gapping creates a false sense of security, demanding a more comprehensive, adaptive approach to our data resilience strategies.

Myth 4: On-premises legacy solutions eliminate my risk of Ransomware.

Legacy data protection solutions are ill-suited for the cloud environment. Due to the on-demand nature of cloud operations, their inability to effectively detect ransomware in cloud data presents a critical vulnerability. Additionally, these solutions are cost-prohibitive to run in the cloud, making them inefficient and expensive for modern cloud needs. As cloud-based threats continue to evolve, investing in solutions specifically designed to safeguard cloud data is imperative. 

Myth 5: The cloud is secure and eliminates my risk of Ransomware.

There’s a belief that moving to the cloud makes you immune to ransomware. People think that big cloud providers with strong security will protect them. But this is too simple.

While the cloud offers inherent security advantages, it’s crucial to understand the shared responsibility model. Hyperscalers secure the infrastructure, but safeguarding applications and data remains the customer’s responsibility.

Most ransomware in the cloud comes from misconfigurations, weak security practices, or user mistakes, not from the cloud infrastructure itself. Leaving storage open or weak authentication can invite ransomware. Cloud services need regular updates; otherwise, criminals can exploit them. Also, ransomware can spread via compromised devices or credentials, even in the cloud. The cloud connects with other systems, allowing ransomware to enter. So, while the cloud is safer, it’s not a magic solution. Secure cloud use needs careful practices, constant monitoring, and the understanding that it can’t entirely stop ransomware’s evolving threats.

It’s When, not If

It’s a matter of when, not if, your business will be attacked by ransomware. That’s why AWS partnered with Elastio, integrating its data integrity technology into AWS Backup and AWS SecurityHub, protecting customers against ransomware attacks.

Elastio employs comprehensive behavioral analysis, deep file inspection, and deterministic models to identify ransomware patterns in the data, ensuring rapid recovery to a clean state. Elastio operates agentlessly within your AWS environment, detecting new workloads, scanning for ransomware, and creating highly recoverable, immutable recovery points. Elastio ensures your data remains safeguarded, debunking myths and providing a robust defense against the ever-evolving ransomware threat.

About Elastio

Elastio detects and precisely identifies ransomware in your data and assures rapid post-attack recovery. Our data resilience platform protects against cyber attacks when traditional cloud security measures fail.

Elastio’s agentless deep file inspection continuously monitors business-critical data to identify threats and enable quick response to compromises and infected files. Elastio provides best-in-class application protection and recovery and delivers immediate time-to-value.  For more information, visit