Ransomware, or malicious malware designed to shut down or block access to vital business data until ransom fees are paid, continues to disrupt organizations worldwide. In recent years, it’s become clear that every business, regardless of industry, requires robust and extensive cybersecurity protections against ransomware attacks.

Comprehensive executive cybersecurity protection is an essential part of any business’ cybersecurity portfolio, particularly when it comes to neutralizing ransomware threats. That’s because executive cybersecurity directly addresses some of the most vulnerable facets of a business’ cybersecurity defenses. Attackers now use novel approaches such as data from data brokers and dark web breaches tied to personal accounts to pivot into the corporate network.

What exactly are the security vulnerabilities of inadequate executive threat protection? What kinds of executive cybersecurity are needed to protect against ransomware? We cover these questions and more in this guide to executive ransomware protection. 

Ransomware Threats for Businesses

The costs of ransomware attacks have been well documented. From finance to manufacturing to the pipeline industry, ransomware has resulted in significant shutdowns, damaged reputations, and billions in lost revenue. Even as the U.S. government ramps up its enforcement against ransomware crimes, cybercriminals and hostile foreign nations continue to increase the sophistication, severity, and number of their attacks. In fact, by 2031, the total global ransomware damage costs are predicted to reach a dizzying 250 billion USD.

When analyzing these attacks, it quickly becomes clear that the most common weakness in business anti-ransomware cybersecurity is the human element. Cybercriminals and hostile foreign powers use a variety of tactics—phishing, social engineering, network perimeter scanning, data broker and dark web information and more—to target the personal cybersecurity of high-access individuals. Once the hackers infiltrate those accounts, they use that access to compromise networks, online accounts and devices to steal data and install ransomware malware and shut down organizational operations.

The Necessity of Executive Cybersecurity Protection

Those with the highest access levels in an organization remain at the greatest risk of ransomware cyberattacks. But a common cybersecurity error many businesses make when developing their protection plan is assuming executives and other high-access individuals only need protection during working hours. 

In reality, executives and high-access individuals remain at high risk of ransomware attacks at all hours of the day, even when home or on vacation. Cybercriminals target home networks and personal devices, knowing executive personal threat protection is often leaner than corporate cybersecurity. Sure enough, 23% of executives have open ports on their home networks. 27% of executives’ personal devices already contain malware. And, most concerning, 87% of executive devices have no security.

This lack of executive cybersecurity protection provides a significant vulnerability to the security of a corporation at large. After compromising executive home networks, online accounts and devices, cybercriminals can quickly begin lateral attacks on companies, resulting in financial, operational, and reputational damage.

How Executive Cybersecurity Protection Prevents Ransomware

Executive cybersecurity aims to plug the gap of the most significant weaknesses in business cybersecurity. Yet, to be effective, executive threat protection must go beyond basic protections like antivirus software. Executive threat protection must contain the following services.

Personal Device Protection & Endpoint Security: These protections seek to prevent email threats, malware, and ransomware from originating in executives’ personal devices and networks, to prevent them from moving laterally into their organizations. 

Home Network Security: Network protections should cover a wide array of attacks, including home network intrusions, Wi-Fi attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and any forms of home data breaches. 

Account Takeover Protection: Executive threat protection must include defense against credential harvesting/reuse, communications hijacking, spoofing/impersonations, and personal email compromise. 

Family Protection: The interconnected nature of home networks means that executives’ family accounts remain at risk of cybercriminals’ efforts to gain access to their organizations. True executive threat protection extends to the entire household and all associated accounts and devices.

Ongoing Cyber Hygiene: Executive cybersecurity is a continuous process. To ensure their cybersecurity remains secure, there must be regular vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and up-to-the-minute threat assessments.

Balancing Security and Privacy

With serious cyber threats like ransomware, home networks and devices require the same levels of protection as the most robust forms of corporate cybersecurity. However, a business’ cyber defenses cannot simply be transferred over to executives’ home networks and devices. 

Home networks and devices are unique environments that require unique cybersecurity protections. And, just as important, executives require specialty cybersecurity protections that ensure their families’ privacy. 

For most companies, this kind of executive threat protection simply isn’t possible. Traditional IT departments are not equipped to handle the stringent requirements of both security and executive privacy. 

For executives’ personal cybersecurity, specialty services are required. 

BlackCloak: Executive Cybersecurity Against Ransomware

Attackers have changed tactics and recovery of ransomware data is not the only threat. Releasing private data and information that could damage the brand and reputation of both the company and the employee is also in play. Having a solid backup strategy is no longer a sole effective mitigation strategy for the risks of ransomware. 

With the proper protections, ransomware threats can be effectively mitigated. At BlackCloak, we’re committed to closing the door to cybercriminals’ access to executives, thereby protecting the well-being of executives and their companies.  

BlackCloak’s white-glove concierge cybersecurity services ensure CISOs and executives have complete access to our fully staffed, high-end team of cybersecurity and privacy experts. With unmatched concierge cybersecurity client and remediation services, BlackCloak delivers personalized, bespoke client service to address all questions or concerns. 

Learn more about ongoing news and updates in the world of executive cybersecurity. If you’d like to request a demo of BlackCloak’s executive threat protection platform, contact us today.