Phishing and Ransomware: Responding to Surging Threats

Erich Falke, Esq., CIPP/US, Chief Information Security Officer & Cyber Risk Practice Manager, is cited as the subject matter expert for the article Update on Phishing and Ransomware—Responding to A Surging Threat featured in American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators (

Mr. Falke discusses the additional cybersecurity exposures organizations face with a work from home atmosphere due to the pandemic. Cyber criminals “upped the ante” and discovered new ways to attack and extort organizations.

The largest causes of ransomware attacks are unsecure remote internet access and phishing emails, followed by software vulnerabilities. To prevent these exposures closing remote ports, implementing multi-factor authorization, and employee cybersecurity training are just a few steps to take.

Mr. Falke recommends:

  1. MFA/Strong passwords on all remote access, email and privileged accounts
  2. Employee training and awareness – especially for phishing emails and other social engineering
  3. Strong patch management
  4. Backups including one isolated or air-gapped copy
  5. Next generation anti-virus protection for endpoints

In the article, Mr. Falke expresses it’s important for management to “convey an understanding of why security is important and what damage could be caused by a cyberattack.” Preparation for the inevitable cyber-attack is also essential. Cybersecurity insurance can provide quick access to helpful resources and an inci­dent response plan where everyone knows what to do are preparations not to be ignored.


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