It’s not always a company’s IT staff that is targeted with ransomware, but the data. In turn, this can mean cybercriminals are able to steal sensitive information from companies in these cases and cause damage beyond what an individual could do on their own. Here are 5 tips to keep yourself safe while you work against ransomware attacks.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files on the computer and demands a ransom to decrypt them. There are many ways to prevent ransomware, such as keeping your software up-to-date, using antivirus software, and backing up your files.
The latest assaults by Russia, China, and North Korea all had one thing in common: they all employed EternalBlue, a cyber-weapon developed by the US National Security Agency. On May 12th, 2017, the ransomware WannaCry leveraged this flaw to cost companies and municipal governments billions of dollars. NotPetya, a similar ransomware assault, was launched in the public a month later, infecting as many unpatched systems as possible. Since then, Russian troll organizations have exploited this technique to attack hotel Wi-Fi during the 2016 US election, as well as Iranian groups targeting planes in the Middle East. With state-sponsored assaults becoming the new normal, malware has infiltrated every small company and local government IT network.
Ransomware is a kind of virus that obtains access to a computer system and encrypts data until a ransom is paid for a decryption key. Payment is frequently requested in the form of bitcoin or prepaid credit cards, making the money trail exceedingly difficult to track. According to a Sophos analysis, the average cost of recovering from a ransomware assault in 2021 will be about $2 million, roughly twice the cost of the previous year. Only 8% of firms who paid the ransom obtained their data recovered.
When opposed to identity theft or other types of cybercrime, one of the reasons ransomware is so popular is because it gives criminals with a clear straight route to being compensated. Another reason is that victims are frequently willing to pay the ransom in order to regain access to their information and recoup their losses. Businesses that have been successfully attacked by ransomware are hesitant to disclose the crime for fear of infuriating stakeholders and risking a drop in their stock price.
The National Cybersecurity Center of the United States suggests using a defense-in-depth strategy since there is no way to entirely defend your system from assaults. This strategy necessitates many layers of protection around your sensitive data, enabling you to identify and block malware assaults in their early stages, before they do significant harm. The presumption that a malware assault will occur, and it’s just a question of when, should be at the forefront of any security plan.
The good news is that by attempting to defend yourself against ransomware assaults, you are also deterring all other types of cybercrime. It all begins with a sturdy foundation, just like any effective defense. The foundation for the remainder of your cybersecurity framework is laid by following the appropriate fundamental measures.
Learn about some actions and cybersecurity strategies you can do to make your computer system a little safer by reading on. It even covers the use of an Android and iOS location monitoring software.
Defending Against Ransomware
1. Up-to-Date and Secure Backups:
The single most effective technique to mitigate the harm caused by ransomware attacks is to stick to a comprehensive data backup policy. Your organization’s most essential files must be backed up on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to see whether you can recover your data from the backup at any point in time.
- Creating offline backups, which should ideally be maintained off-site, is a great approach to protect crucial corporate data against ransomware assaults. To extract a ransom, these assaults aggressively seek for backups and destroy them.
- Keep numerous copies of your data and save them in various ways. Having two copies of a file on the same storage device or cloud service is a terrible idea.
- Storage devices should not be linked to your network at all times. Once within your network, attackers will deliberately seek out these devices in order to deactivate them.
- Your cloud storage solution must be capable of saving and restoring data from a prior state. Dropbox Rewind, for example, is a function of the famous cloud storage service that enables you to recover files from any prior version that has been saved.
- Make sure the devices you’re using are clean and malware-free before you begin the recovery procedure.
- Scan and upgrade storage goods on a regular basis. Attackers may simply acquire access to them if they have any known flaws.
- To safeguard storage devices and manage who may access them inside your business, use Privileged Access Workstations and firewalls. It is preferable to eliminate the requirement for a large number of individuals to have direct access to important data systems.
2. Prevent Malware from Being Delivered and Spreading
By screening files and emails, restricting users from visiting harmful websites, and employing digital signatures to distinguish between good and malicious files, network service programs may help avoid malware assaults. These are some examples of such services:
- Malicious and executable files are removed from workplace emails using mail screening and spam filtering.
- Intercepting proxies that may prevent known dangerous websites from being accessed.
- Web requests are inspected against corporate rules by Internet Security Gateways, which offer enhanced network security.
With the growing usage of remote access devices, organizations are becoming more susceptible if these devices and networks are not adequately protected. Companies should take the following steps to avoid malware attacks using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP):
- If RDP is no longer required or useful, disable it.
- Multiple Factor Authentication should be enabled for all remote devices.
- A VPN is suggested for remote access to a Software-as-a-Service.
- Remote devices and networks with known vulnerabilities must be patched right away.
Lateral movement refers to malware spreading further and deeper into a network in order to find crucial user names and passwords, as well as vital assets and data. To avoid this, do the following steps:
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication to prevent login credentials from being reused even if they are stolen.
- Separate outdated operating systems from the rest of the network if they don’t have the necessary security support or upgrades.
- System administrators must not use their accounts for email or web surfing. Within an organization, they are high-value objectives. User rights that are no longer necessary must be withdrawn as well.
- Emphasize the need of keeping security devices on the network’s perimeter updated and patched on a regular basis. It’s also useful to keep track of inventory so you know which devices need to be updated promptly.
3. Take use of device-level security features
You should operate with the presumption that malware will ultimately access your devices if you have a multi-layered security. As a result, precautions must be made to prevent malware from being installed on these devices.
- Only programs authorized by the enterprise or from trustworthy sources should be allowed on devices, which must be monitored centrally.
- If anti-virus software is necessary, ensure that it and its definition libraries are up to date on all of your devices.
- Take actions to protect your devices against harmful scripts and macros.
Attackers may also get access to these devices by exploiting known or even unknown flaws. To avoid this, do the following steps:
- As soon as security updates become available, they must be deployed.
- If feasible, auto-updates may be activated.
- Inbound connections should be banned by default on network firewalls.
4. Monitoring and training of employees
The human aspect will always be the weakest link in any cybersecurity solution. It doesn’t matter if you have the most sophisticated security system in place if your CEO writes his password on a post-it note on his office computer. Employees should be able to:
- Recognize phishing efforts and notify a management or IT specialist immediately.
- For their accounts, create strong gadgets. People often fail to update the default password on their gadgets, leaving them vulnerable to attack.
- Secure their work gadgets physically and never leave them laying about where they may be accessed by others.
- IT management should be notified of any problems. Reporting problems may assist IT workers in limiting the scope of the harm inside the company.
Employee monitoring software is also suggested for sectors where workers require access to trade secrets and other private data. To avoid espionage and sabotage by dissatisfied workers, companies might utilize commercial software to keep a tight check on their personnel. You may also keep track of their phone conversations, emails, text messages, and browser history using the program. The program can even follow your workers’ phone calls on the dark web in case they attempt to sell your data or rent malware on the black market. To learn more about what the dark web is, click the link.
Following COVID, using employee monitoring software has become more of a need. Employees are utilizing more personal devices and out-of-system access points while dealing with corporate data as a result of a big number of organizations implementing work-from-home policies. Employee productivity may also be measured using the monitoring software to ensure that they are not doing personal duties on business time. While trust is crucial, workers must also be aware that they are being monitored in order to maintain high productivity.
Some companies may find it necessary to supply phones to their workers with restricted access to the phone’s functionalities. Employee monitoring software may be used to prohibit workers from installing applications, utilizing social media, or visiting particular websites. Employers may also set up keywords, such as a company’s secret project name, to get an alert whenever that term is used by their staff. The usage of these monitoring applications is dependent on your industry, and when compared to other mobile tracking apps, Xnspy’s wide feature set ensures it can meet all of your demands, regardless of your sector.
5. Have a Plan for Recovering
After a data breach, 60% of all small enterprises will close within six months. Ransomware assaults, on the other hand, may ruin any company. Even if data can be recovered, the harm to a brand’s reputation and worth may be irreversible. Steps must still be in place to enable you to recover as quickly as feasible following an assault.
- It’s important to remember that many businesses might incur collateral damage in an assault that wasn’t even targeted at their system.
- In the case of an attack, have a good communication system in place so that IT and top management are swiftly notified.
- Prepare a strategy for rebuilding data servers.
- After an incident, examine your threat management strategy to ensure that an attack does not happen again in the same manner.
Bonus Tip: It may be tempting to negotiate or give in to ransom demands. You’d do everything to be able to return to work as soon as possible and have things back to normal. Paying the ransom does not ensure that your data will be restored or that the extortion demands will end.
The “ransomware backup strategy” is a good way to prevent ransomware from infiltrating your computer. Here are 5 tips for keeping in mind for the defense.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best defense against ransomware?
A: Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to an infected device or network by demanding payment for the decryption key. The best defense against ransomware is not having your information stored on one computer and backing up frequently.
What steps can be taken to prevent the ransomware attacks?
A: According to the FBI, ransomware attacks can be prevented by backing up your data frequently and making sure that youre running an up-to-date version of Windows.
What best practices can help to avoid the negative impact of ransomware?
A: The best thing you can do to avoid the negative impact of ransomware is to be careful about what files and programs you use online. Not all applications are safe, so its important that users always double check for viruses before downloading anything or opening a file. Users should also turn off their internet connection when not necessary, keep anti-virus software up-to-date in order to detect new threats quickly, regularly back up data onto external hard drives/disks so theyll have copies as well (that way if something happens with one device there will still be a backup), pay attention to popups during browsing and never click on links within them without first verifying who theyre from and why theyre sending information your way.
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