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Building an Incident Response Plan for Ransomware

by | Dec 6, 2022 | BLOG

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

You may be wondering: what are the basic steps of an Incident Response Plan for ransomware or what an Incident Response Plan should include? So we prepared this article.

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

  • Risk Assessment
  • Identification of a Ransomware Attack
  • Defining the Scope of the Attack
  • Isolation of Affected Systems
  • Elimination of Malicious Software
  • Disclosure of the Attack
  • Environment Recovery
  • Incident Recovery Plan
  • Application of Lessons Learned

Keep reading this article and learn all about it!

Basic Steps of an Incident Response Plan

An Incident Response Plan involving ransomware shall cover the following steps:

Risk Assessment

The first step for those who want to design an Incident Response Plan involving ransomware is to assess the risks and threats faced by the company. In this step, you should understand which types of ransomware your company is most vulnerable to and which assets and data would be most impacted. In addition, it is important to know how and to what extent your organization would be affected by a ransomware attack.

Identification of a Ransomware Attack

When implementing an Incident Response Plan for ransomware, it is possible to identify an attack, taking into account there are many types of malware similar to ransomware, and the main signs of the latter are encryption and file blocking.

Defining the Scope of the Attack

In an Incident Response Plan for ransomware, defining the scope of the attack is equivalent to measuring how much data and systems were affected by it. That is when you will know if the attack affected a single server, or if all your files kept in the data center or the cloud were impacted as well.

Isolation of Affected Systems

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

Elimination of Malicious Software

After containing the attack and isolating the affected systems, you must respond to the incident by eliminating malicious software and making sure the attack has been stopped. In the Incident Response Plan for ransomware, this is the time to assess the extent of the damage and check for backups to the locked files.

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Disclosure of the Attack

Certain data protection laws and compliance regulations provide that attacks affecting sensitive data must be notified to authorities and persons who have had their information exposed.

So, if a ransomware attack has affected your customers’ data, be prepared to make the disclosure, according to the steps established by the regulatory bodies.

Environment Recovery

After removing the malicious software and disclosing the attack, the focus should be on restoring systems and data by using the backup to retrieve information and reinstalling the systems.

In this step, the security team must work in collaboration with the IT team, ensuring all security mechanisms are updated before reinstalling the impacted systems.

Incident Recovery Plan

If you are not prepared to restore systems and data after the attack, you will need to create an Incident Recovery Plan for ransomware.

This activity may be a bit time-consuming, but it is essential to avoid errors during recovery. In this step, you should also look for ways to recover files that were not saved in backups.

Application of Lessons Learned

Once you have recovered the data and restored your business operations, it is essential to check what has happened. Making a solid assessment of what motivated the ransomware attack will help your company not make the same mistakes and prepare employees to deal with future situations.

Relevant Statistics on Ransomware

  • Here are some relevant figures about 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 a ransomware attack will take place every 11 seconds by the end of 2022.
  • In 2020, schools and colleges were the main targets of ransomware attacks.

About senhasegura

We are senhasegura, a company widely recognized as a leader in cybersecurity. Our purpose is to provide sovereignty over sensitive data to the companies that hire us, using PAM to prevent data theft and leaks, as well as shutdowns in activities, which damage the results of corporations.

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

Moreover, we automatically audit the use of privileges and privileged actions to prevent abuse, reducing cyber risks. 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 block their victims’ computers and charge a ransom to unlock them;
  • An Incident Response Plan involving ransomware must include the risk assessment, identification of the attack, definition of the scope of the attack, isolation of the affected systems, elimination of malicious software, disclosure of the attack, and recovery of the environment among its steps;
  • It is also critical to verify what happened after implementing the Incident Response Plan for ransomware; and
  • Alarming numbers reveal ransomware is one of the main cyber threats today.

Did you like our article? Then share it with someone who wants to learn more about Incident Response Plan for ransomware.


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