Many companies have been forced to turn to remote work environments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this change may have increased the exposure potential of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) attacks.
When global lockout times began in early 2020, most organizations prioritized business continuity and remote access features to the detriment of server, network, and workstation security. The pandemic became an excellent opportunity for attackers to launch RDP attacks by identifying public servers with open ports and unmatched vulnerabilities and working to exploit these vulnerabilities. Attackers then used common intrusion techniques, such as brute force password attacks, to gain access to these organizations' vulnerable infrastructure and data.
Remote desk protocol (RDP) is a network communication protocol developed by Microsoft and consists of a digital interface that allows users to remotely connect to other servers or devices. Through RDP ports, users can easily access and use these servers or devices from any location. RDP has become an increasingly useful tool ̵
Unfortunately, RDP ports are also often used as a vector to launch ransomware attacks, which means that a cybercriminal uses malicious software to compromise a device (or multiple devices) and requires a large payment to be made before the technology is reset for the victim. In fact, a recent report from Kaspersky found that nearly 1.3 million RDP-based cyberattacks occur every day, with the RDP ruling as the best attack vector for ransomware incidents.
Do not let RDP contribute to an expensive ransomware incident for your organization. . Review the following guidelines to learn more about how ransomware attacks can occur via RDP and best practices to minimize the likelihood of such an incident.
RDSomware attacks via RDP
RDP-based ransomware attacks usually originate from organizations that leave their RDP ports exposed to the Internet. While it may seem more convenient for employers in remote work, Internet-exposed RDP ports are easy for cybercriminals to identify and offer a clear access point for deploying malicious attacks.
The typical process for an RDP-based ransomware attack is as follows:
- Scanning —First, a cybercriminal uses a port-scanning tool to search the Internet for exposed RDP ports. These scanning tools are often free and relatively easy to use for attackers with different skill levels.
- Access – After identifying an exposed RDP port, cybercriminals gain access to the targeted server or device using stolen credentials. Attackers can secure this information by either purchasing it on the dark web or by using a brute-force tool that can quickly enter a series of usernames and passwords until the right combination is found.
- Disable Security Features —Once the cybercriminal has reached the targeted server or device, they try to make it as defenseless against an attack as possible by disabling existing security features (such as antivirus software, data encryption tools, and system backup features).
- Perform the attack – From there, cybercriminals can steal sensitive data and distribute a ransomware attack on a vulnerable server or device. Some attackers even install backdoors during this step to allow easy access during future attacks.
Like other ransomware incidents, RDP-based attacks can have devastating consequences for the affected organization – including business disruption issues, reputation for reputation and large-scale
Strengthening RDP against ransomware
Although RDP-based ransomware attacks Becoming more common, there are several ways for you to strengthen your organization's RDP security and reduce the risk of such an incident affecting your business. Consider the following best practices:
- Close your RDP connection. First of all, make sure that your RDP connection is not open to the Internet.
- Establish a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Be sure to create a VPN to prevent your RDP port from being exposed to the Internet. This allows remote employees to securely access your organization's RDP port, while making the port much more difficult for cybercriminals to find online.
- Increase authentication protocol. Because cybercriminals require login credentials to properly perform an RDP-based ransomware attack, make sure you have effective authentication protocols in place. Encourage specific employees to develop unique passwords for all their devices and accounts. These passwords should be of a suitable length, refrain from using common words or phrases and contain several special characters. In addition to strong passwords, consider requiring multifactor authentication for RDP port access as an additional layer of protection.
- Implement limits for login attempts. To prevent cybercriminals from using brute-force tools to secure login credentials during an attack, update the RDP port features to detect when multiple failed login attempts have occurred in a short period of time. Set a limit on how many incorrect logins can occur before the user is blocked from further attempts – therefore stop an attack.
- Use adequate security software. Ensure that all technology in the workplace is equipped with state-of-the-art security software – including antivirus software, a firewall, data encryption features and a gateway server – to deter attack attempts. Update this software regularly.
- Restrict employee access. Be sure to uphold the principle of least privilege by giving employees RDP access only if they absolutely need it to perform their duties. These employees should be trusted and trained in appropriate RDP use. After all, extra employees create unnecessary RDP permissions simply creating additional security vulnerabilities.
- Has a plan. Finally, make sure your organization has an effective cyber incident response plan that addresses RDP-based scenarios for ransomware attacks. This plan should promote the backup of critical data in several secure locations (both on-site and off-site) to minimize potential losses. Practice this plan regularly with the staff and make updates as needed.
Cyber coverage to keep in mind when fighting ransomware
- Cyber threat or extortion : compensation for payment due to a threat to prevent access to your computer system, introduce a virus into your system, disclose your confidential information or Damage your brand or reputation by posting fake comments on social media sites.
- System Damage : costs you to retrieve, restore, or replace any of your lost or damaged computer programs.
- Business Interruption : Compensation for your lost income due to a computer system outage due to a cyber attack.
- Regulatory measures or investigations : coverage for costs, costs, fines and penalties resulting from a statutory investigation arising from an actual or suspected infringement.
The coverage ratio your company needs is based on your individual business, a d may vary depending on your exposure area. It is important to work with an insurance advisor who can identify your risk areas and tailor a policy to suit your unique situation.
We can help you recover from a ransomware attack
Companies operating in an environment where it is not a question of IF a cyberattack will occur, it is just a matter of  when .
We need to take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of an attack, but we also need to be realistic and understand that inevitably we will all deal with a cyber attack at some point.
The two most important questions you need to answer as a business owner are:
- Will I know how to answer when a
- Will my business survive the devastating consequences of a cyberattack?
The planning you do today, the strategic partnerships you have put in place and the adequacy of your Cyber & Data Breach Insurance coverage are all important components for surely answering the question of " my company will survive after a cyberattack "with a resounding" COMPLETELY . "
We understand the negative effects that a cyber attack can have on your organization, we have seen first and foremost how it affects customers. We also know which insurance companies offer the widest insurance coverage to help you recover from an attack.
But we do not stay there.
The best place to start with your own internal operations, the security measures you have in place and the checks that are carried out to prevent a data breach.
In addition to covering cyber and data breach liability, we can also offer you several services that help place your business for the best insurance premiums offered by the country's strongest insurance companies. Specifically, we can:
- Provide you with data security resources designed to keep your data and network secure
- Perform a cyber risk assessment of your business to identify areas of weakness and provide solutions to mitigate exposures
- Help you to develop and implement a plan for action measures
To learn more about how we can help simply Request a proposal and we will start immediately.