SaaS Ransomware & How to Defend Against It

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has revolutionised the way businesses work. Collaboration in the Cloud makes it easy for everyone to work together and access the files they need from any device, anywhere they have an internet connection.

However, like all technologies, alongside the benefits, SaaS also brings potential threats.

When software and data are online, they are vulnerable to attack. As more businesses move their applications and data to the Cloud, cybercriminals are following suit.

Between March and May 2023, SaaS attacks rose by over 300%, and in 2022, 51% of ransomware attacks targeted SaaS data.

So, what is SaaS Ransomware, and how can you defend against it?

What are the risks of SaaS ransomware?

SaaS ransomware is malicious code designed to target cloud-based applications and services such as Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and other Cloud-based collaboration platforms.

Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in the services, and then ransomware encrypts your data, effectively locking users out of their accounts. Cybercriminals hold the data hostage, and then demand a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.

SaaS ransomware adds an extra layer of complexity to the cyber security landscape and presents several risks to organisations and their users.

  • Data loss – this is the most immediate risk to organisations that become compromised. All access to cloud-based applications and services is restricted, data is inaccessible, and productivity halts.
  • Reputational damage – A successful ransomware attack can tarnish your organisations reputation, customers and prospective clients may lose trust in your ability to safeguard their data.
  • Financial impact – Ransomware ransoms are usually demanded in cryptocurrencies, and paying the ransom does not guarantee you will regain access to your data. As well as the ransom, the cost of downtime and recovery efforts can be substantial.

How do I defend against SaaS ransomware?

A proactive defence is the key to protecting your organisation against these threats.

Here are some effective solutions to help protect your users and business.

  • Educate your users – Education is a key starting point for all cybersecurity defences. Users should be trained on how SaaS ransomware spreads through phishing emails, malicious links, or breached accounts. There should also be training on recognising suspicious activities and reporting any unusual incidents immediately.
  • Enable Multi-Factor Authentication – MFA is an essential layer of security that requires users to provide an extra form of authentication to access accounts. Usually, this is a one-time code sent to their mobile device. Enabling MFA decreases the risk of unauthorised access, even if the account credentials are compromised.
  • Regular backups – Frequently backing up your SaaS data is crucial. In the event of a breach, you will still be able to access your data. Backups also ensure you can easily restore all your data without having to pay any ransom demands.
  • Apply the principle of least privilege – limit user permissions to only what is necessary. This will help to limit the potential damage if an account is compromised.
  • Keep software up to date – Regular updates close known vulnerabilities and help to strengthen your defences. Ensure all of your software has the latest security patches installed.
  • Deploy advanced security options – The benefits of using enhanced security include real-time threat detection and data loss prevention, among many others.
  • Develop an incident response plan – Your incident response plan should outline the steps to take in the event of a ransomware attack. A well-coordinated response could help to mitigate the impact of a compromise and can also aid in faster recovery.

Don’t leave your Cloud services unprotected!

SaaS ransomware is a significant threat, and the best defence is a good offence.

Our team can help you stay ahead of the cyber threats that lurk in the digital world. Give us a call today to schedule a chat.