NIST Draft Guidance for Ransomware Risk Management Published

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a draft Cybersecurity Framework Profile for Ransomware Risk Management to be able to guide organizations avoid, respond and recuperate from ransomware attacks.

The Ransomware Profile is supposed to be utilized by institutions that have followed the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and would like to strengthen their risk postures or any company that hasn’t implemented the Framework yet would like to employ a risk management framework to counter ransomware risks. The Ransomware Profile may be utilized to determine and prioritize options for enhancing their ransomware resilience.

The Ransomware Profile consists of a set of steps that ought to be undertaken to avoid ransomware attacks and efficiently deal with ransomware risk. It must be utilized along with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, other guidance by NIST, and guidance released by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

The Ransomware Profile describes fundamental steps that may be carried out to enhance protection against ransomware attacks. These consist of the usage of antivirus software program, automatic scans on emails and flash drives, patching computers, blocking access to identified ransomware websites, only allowing the usage of authorized apps, limiting the usage of personally owned gadgets, limiting the usage of accounts having administrative rights, limiting the use of personal applications, and performing security awareness training to alert employees regarding the dangers of clicking URLs or opening files coming from unidentified sources. These steps by themselves will help to considerably minimize ransomware risk.

If a ransomware attack is successful, it is important for businesses to be ready as this will enable them to restrict the damage brought about and speed up the time to recover. That calls for an incident recovery program, having an updated listing of internal and external contacts for ransomware attacks, and making sure a complete backup and recovery program is executed.

Much like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, the Ransomware Profile has five categories: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Every category has a number of subcategories and chosen informative references together with a description of how they are applicable to avoiding and reacting to ransomware attacks.

Identify is about creating a complete understanding of cybersecurity threats to systems, individuals, resources, data, and functions, which is important for efficient usage of the Framework.

Protect is about employing safety measures to avoid the disruption of critical services to make it possible for a business to continue functioning – for instance, employing network segmentation to restrict the capability of an attacker to move laterally and harm all networks.

Detect is about employing systems that can identify intrusions before deploying ransomware, which includes keeping logs and performing audits when suspicious activity is noticed.

Respond is about taking proper actions to control a ransomware attack. Recover is involved with employing appropriate actions to re-establish functions and services that were affected by ransomware attacks and taking action to lessen the possibility of future effective ransomware attacks to recover confidence amongst stakeholders.

NIST is receiving feedback on the draft Ransomware Profile up to July 9, 2021. After the release of the modified Ransomware Profile, there is going to be another comment phase prior to the publishing of the final Ransomware Profile.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at