Among the most prevalent cybersecurity questions, business and government agencies continue to ask: is Linux OS vulnerable to ransomware? For decades now Linux has built a reputation as a more secure option compared to Windows. However, this reputation is mainly due to Linux’s smaller user base, making it a less attractive target for hackers. That has changed in recent years as Linux’s open-source nature has made it an attractive choice for cloud computing and web servers. In this blog, we will go over why Linux has become a target for ransomware, as well as methods to protect your IT infrastructure from ransomware attacks.
Why is Linux OS Being Targeted by Ransomware Attacks?
As mentioned previously, Linux OS is no longer a niche operating system and has grown quite popular. The operating system remains in use by businesses and governments around the world. Additionally, the internet continues to grow through Linux, with over 70% of web servers running on Linux OS. Moreover, the upward trend in popularity makes it a prime target for cyberattacks, including ransomware threats.
Linux’s open-source nature is the reason for its growing popularity, but it is also responsible for quickly identifying and correcting any loopholes or exploits in Linux’s OS. If hackers discover a vulnerability, a quick fix by one of the millions of code contributors to Linux will likely occur. This shows there is not a structural reason why the operating system remains a target by hackers, it is just as secure if not more compared to other operating systems. The main reason Linux continues to experience more attacks from hackers is primarily due to its high usage.
How to Protect Linux OS from Ransomware
With the threat of ransomware in mind, organizations need to take the necessary steps to protect their business from ransomware. Current estimates indicate in 2021 a new ransomware attack occurs every 11 seconds. Businesses and governments affected by these attacks remain undecided whether or not to pay a costly ransom. In Q1 of 2021, the average ransom was $220,000. That’s expensive on its own, but the cost of weeks of downtime can quickly surpass $220,000 on its own. In order to prevent costly ransomware attacks, organizations must holistically update their IT security plans to address ransomware.
There is a large number of ransomware solutions designed for Linux. These pieces of software monitor your IT network and identify any anomalous activity. Furthermore, the software identifies a ransomware attack as it occurs and prevents the attack from being completed. This isn’t the only security software solution for ransomware, other programs include security protocols that restrict certain files from being accessed by unauthorized programs. Additionally, these programs provide email quarantine solutions to prevent phishing attacks, one of the most prominent attack vectors for ransomware.
Staff Training and Secuirty Protocols
It is equally important to update your staff on the threat of ransomware, and how to defend against it. Almost half of all ransomware attacks are carried out through some method of social engineering. That means using stolen credentials or compromising the system through email phishing. In order to prevent a security breach, you need to update staff training and procedures to include protocols such as two-factor authentication, VPNs for network access, and anti-social engineering training.
Backup and Recovery
Backup and recovery methods are your last line of defense against ransomware. Ideally, you never have to use them; however, if a hacker breaches your system and encrypts your data you can easily restore from a backup to prevent paying a ransom. This is not a method of prevention, but it may be the most important part of ransomware security. Hackers will always find new methods of attack, and you can not guarantee with total certainty that you will never be affected. With ransomware as common as it is you need to ensure that you have a robust system of backups and recovery as a last line of defense.
So, is Linux OS vulnerable to ransomware? It is a complex issue that involves multiple attack vectors and defense mechanisms. To learn more about this topic or to find a ransomware solution for your organization, use the button below to talk to a cyber security expert from Strategic Communications.
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