Protect Yourself with Ransomware Tabletop Exercises


Keith Ward
December 5, 2022

Protect Yourself with Ransomware Tabletop Exercises

One of the best ways to protect yourself against ransomware is through role playing. If you’re thinking Dungeons and Dragons right now, you’re actually on the right path—a ransomware tabletop exercise is essentially the cybersecurity version of that.

We’ve posted a log of essential information around this topic, and present it here as a quick primer that will prepare you for the ransomware attack that you’re likely to experience in the near future, if you haven’t already.

An overview by noted ransomware expert Allan is the best place to start. It’s a video with ActualTech Media Partner James Green, and has an accompanying transcript. Liska, a leading industry expert on ransomware, provides a high-level overview of definitions and why a ransomware tabletop exercise can save your bacon when there’s an attack.

Author James Panetti lists “5 Reasons Ransomware Tabletop Exercises Are Critical to Disaster Recovery” in this article. Among the benefits he discusses include not having to create a full production environment for testing, and the flexibility of tweaking the variables for different types of ransomware attacks.

We also ran a three-part series by Chris Minnick that takes you step-by-step through creating a tabletop exercise. In Part One, a company has suffered a ransomware attack, and decides that a tabletop exercise is the best way to prevent a reoccurrence.

Part 2 of the series goes through a real-world example of how this could look, including the setup, game rules, and a thorough post-game debrief. It’s my favorite installment of the series, giving point-by-point instruction.

Part 3 wraps up the series, and is about How To Create a Phishing Tabletop Exercise. A key part of protecting yourself in the future is to analyze and determine the ways the Bad Guys are getting in, and making sure to close down those holes before they’re used again.

We’ve also created a one-page PDF cheat sheet on running a ransomware tabletop exercise. It covers the major points from these other articles in a handy format. And it’s free!

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