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Building a Ransomware Incident Response Plan

by | Jul 13, 2023 | BLOG

Ransomware is a type of cyberattack where malicious attackers lock down their victims’ computers and demand a ransom to unlock.

In this, we show you how to create a response plan for incidents involving ransomware. Want to know everything about it? Read our text until the end!

Ransomware is considered one of the biggest threats to businesses in 2022. In this type of cyberattack, hackers lock their victims’ computers and charge a ransom to unlock.

You might be wondering what the basic steps of the Incident Response Plan for ransomware are, or what an Incident Response Plan should include. That’s why we prepared this article.

Here are the aspects that a proper response to a ransomware attack should include:


1. Risk assessment

2. Identification of a ransomware attack

3. Definition of the scope of the attack

4. Isolation of affected systems

5. Elimination of malicious software

6. Disclosure of the attack

7. Recovery of the environment

8. Incident Recovery Plan

9. Application of lessons learned


Keep reading this article and learn all about it!


1. Risk assessment

The first step for anyone wanting to design a ransomware Incident Response Plan is to assess the risks and threats facing the organization. At this stage, you should understand which types of ransomwares your business is most vulnerable to and which assets and data would be most impacted. Furthermore, it is important to know how and to what extent your company would be affected by a ransomware attack.


2. Identification of a ransomware attack

By implementing a Ransomware Incident Response Plan, it is possible to identify an attack, taking into account that there are many types of malwares similar to ransomwares and the main signs of the latter are file encryption and blocking.


3. Definition of the scope of the attack

In a Ransomware Incident Response Plan, defining the scope of the attack is equivalent to measuring how much data and systems were affected by it. That’s when you’ll know if the attack hit a single server, or if all your files kept in the data center or in the cloud were also impacted.


4. Isolation of affected systems

The next step is to stop the ransomware activities by isolating the affected systems in order to contain the attack and immediately taking the affected systems and networks offline. If this is not possible, disconnect compromised devices or remove them from Wi-Fi to prevent the ransomware infection from spreading.

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5. Elimination of malicious software

After containing the attack and isolating the affected systems, you must respond to the incident by eliminating malicious software and ensuring that the attack is stopped. In the Ransomware Incident Response Plan, this is the time to assess the scale of the damage and verify that there are backups for the locked files.


6. Disclosure of the attack

Certain data protection laws and compliance regulations require attacks that affect sensitive data to be reported to authorities and individuals whose information has been exposed.
So, if a ransomware attack affected your customers’ data, be prepared to carry out the disclosure, according to the steps established by the regulatory bodies.


7. Recovery of the environment

After removing the malicious software and publicizing the attack, the focus should be on restoring systems and data, using backup to recover information and reinstalling systems.
At this stage, the security team must work in collaboration with the IT team, ensuring that all security mechanisms are updated before reinstalling the impacted systems.


8. Incident Recovery Plan

If you have not prepared to restore systems and data after the attack, you will need to create a Ransomware Incident Recovery Plan.
This activity can take a little time, but it is essential to avoid errors during recovery. In this step, you should also look for ways to recover files that were not backed up.


9. Application of lessons learned

After recovering the data and restoring your business operations, it is essential to verify what happened. Carrying out a careful assessment of what motivated the ransomware attack will help your company not to make the same mistakes and prepare employees to deal with future situations.


Relevant statistics about ransomware

Below are some relevant numbers on ransomware attacks:

  • 9% of Americans have been targeted by this type of attack.
  • Two-thirds of ransomware infections are caused by phishing emails.
  • Annually, ransomware attacks generate $1 billion for malicious attackers.
  • It is believed that by the end of 2022, a ransomware attack will be executed every 11 seconds.
  • In 2020, schools and colleges were top targets for ransomware attacks.


About senhasegura

We are senhasegura, an organization widely recognized as a leader in cybersecurity.

Our purpose is to provide sovereignty over confidential data to the companies that hire us, using PAM to prevent data theft and leakage, as well as interruptions in activities, which harm the results of corporations.

To achieve this goal, we track the privileged access management lifecycle and leverage machine automation before, during, and after access.

In addition, we automatically audit the use of privileges and privileged actions to prevent abuse, reducing cyber risk. We also bring organizations into compliance with audit criteria and standards such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, ISO 27001 and Sarbanes-Oxley.



In this article, you saw that:

  • Ransomware is a cyberattack, in which hackers lock their victims’ computers and charge a ransom to unlock them.
  • An Incident Response Plan involving ransomware must include, among its steps risk assessment, attack identification, definition of the scope of the attack, isolation of affected systems, elimination of malicious software, disclosure of the attack and recovery of the environment.
  • It is also essential to check what happened after carrying out the Ransomware Incident Response Plan.
  • Striking numbers reveal that ransomware is one of the main cyber threats today.


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