ransomware encryption lock
August 16, 2017

Maersk – A $300M cautionary tale about inadequate malware protection

On June 27thjust a month following the worldwide WannaCry panica new malware variant entered the scene. Fast-moving and massive in scale, NotPetya sent global corporations scrambling to restore business operations, only to find their backup and recovery solutions weren’t up to the task.

Corporations like global transportation, logistics, and energy giant, A.P. Moller – Maerskwhich announced today that the malware infection will cost them $200 – 300M.

The astronomical cost of insufficient malware protection

A.P. Moller – Maersk operates nine businesses, and is the largest container ship and supply vessel business in the world. And, in June, it disrupted three of its nine businesses for weeks when it discovered malware-affected systems and forced a network shutdown to contain the infection.

It was later determined that the malware entered their systems via the Ukranian accounting software, MeDoc. Containing backdoors into user networks, the modified version of the Petya ransomware, now known as NotPetya, was able to spread—and spread quickly—exploiting the same EternalBlue Windows vulnerability that gave rise to WannaCry.

While A.P. Moller – Maersk was able to report that “no data breach or data loss to third-parties has occurred,” the weeks-long business disruption came at a heavy price.

The estimated $200 – 300M price tag factored in:

  • Lost business revenue
  • Additional labor costs incurred during the attack
  • Costs associated with removing the infection and restoring systems

A.P. Moller – Maersk wasn’t the only high-profile victim of NotPetya, of course. FedEx; American pharmaceutical giant, Merck; the National Bank of Ukraine; and Russian oil company, Rosneft were also waylaid by the malware.

How can you reduce the financial impact of a malware infection?

This question will result in a different answer for every organization. Determining the right solution begins by thoroughly documenting your data, applications, and systems—and identifying how critical they are to your operations.

With business requirements and service levels clearly defined, you’ll be equipped to most efficiently and cost-effectively apply the right level of data protection.

Furthermore, we recommend you adopt these backup and recovery best practices to ensure you can withstand a cyber attack:

  • Employ a 3-2-1 backup strategy to ensure recoverability—maintaining three copies of your data; two of which may be local, but one must be offline; and one which must be off-site
  • Ensure your backup data isn’t on a shared network
  • Exercise the practice of least privilege to reduce points of vulnerability across your networks
  • Leverage virtual standby and instant VM to resume business operations swiftly
  • Regularly perform disaster recovery testing to ensure vulnerabilities are identified and resolved before it’s too late

The fact of the matter is: backup and recovery isn’t sexy—it often becomes the can that’s kicked down the road. But, when malware has impacted your systems—and it will—it’s the only thing that can save you.

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