Destructive malware, malicious software with the capability to render affected systems inoperable, represents a growing problem for global organizations, according to IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS).

Destructive malware disables access to data or destroys system functions, IBM IRIS stated. It is sophisticated malware with wiper capabilities and has been used in both nation-state and criminal cyberattacks.

Destructive malware deletes or wipes files that are critical to an operating system's ability to run, IBM IRIS indicated. It may overwrite a Master Boot Record (MBR) to corrupt a device's hard drive partition code and render it inoperable.

Large multinational companies appear to incur costs around $239 million per destructive malware incident — 61 times greater than the cost of a typical data breach, IBM IRIS noted. Furthermore, the average destructive malware attack affects 12,316 computer workstations and servers and requires 512 hours to remediate.

How to Guard Against Destructive Malware

IBM IRIS offered a variety of recommendations to help organizations combat destructive malware attacks, including:

  • Develop a threat response plan and test it regularly.
  • Use threat intelligence to detect cyber risks.
  • Leverage multiple security layers to protect against evolving destructive malware attacks.
  • Limit the number of privileged accounts authorized to access systems and workstations.
  • Require multi-factor authentication (MFA) to access systems and workstations.

MSSPs can help organizations guard against destructive malware attacks, too. They can work with organizations to identify cyber threats and help them develop and implement security strategies to address these issues.