Though ransomware doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the more general malware, after you learned what ransomware is, you’re probably starting to see how much more crippling it can be for businesses of all sizes.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do prior to a ransomware attack.
Like with all cybersecurity, proactive measures end up preventing more attacks from happening. Those who choose to decrease their vulnerability will end up avoiding far more ransomware issues than those organizations who choose to remain reactive.
1. Back up your data
While backing up your data doesn’t mean ransomware won’t happen, it’ll certainly mean you can continue to access your data, recover it faster, and potentially avoid paying any ransom.
By storing your system and data files offline in a protected external drive or on the cloud, you’ll be able to better safeguard your sensitive information. Ensure that one of your company protocols is to back up your data regularly, since it doesn’t help to back up once and then never do it again.
2. Don’t rely on anti-virus
Many businesses feel like they can set up an anti-virus software and be protected from any future ransomware issues. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Anti-virus software only works for ransomware when that particular type of malware is in the software. Not only that, anti-virus can’t help you once you or another team member clicks a link or downloads a file.
Ransomware is expertly designed to trick systems and people, so it can easily go undetected.
3. Establish plans and protocols
Proactive cybersecurity measures are what will ultimately save your organization from a cyber threat. While ransomware can and will still happen, it’s often how the situation is dealt with that will determine how detrimental the attack is to your organization.
With proactive incident response in place, you’ll be able to plan and prepare for when attacks happen. Then, your team can effectively follow the protocol, communicate clearly, and act quickly with your plan.
4. Focus on email
Since most ransomware happens via email, it’s critical to pay close attention to your company’s email vulnerability.
Robust filtering, blocking attachments, and proactive security and awareness training via email for employees will all decrease the chances that ransomware attacks happen to your organization.
5. Keep your systems up-to-date and secured
Operating systems consistently create updates to better protect their users. If you aren’t being diligent about your updates, it’s time to make the change.
Automatically update your hardware, software, and any applications you use so that you don’t become vulnerable by using old, outdated versions. This also extends to your employees, who should regularly update their assets too.
Systems should also be continuously secured. Securing your organization’s assets starts by knowing about them, then by securing them on an ongoing basis.
6. Patch continuously
Cybercriminals are working day and night to use ransomware to access your files and make money; is your cybersecurity working day and night too?
By implementing continuous patching, you’ll have a cybersecurity system that’s working proactively. Patches — or small code changes made to fix vulnerabilities — ensure your organization is that much more secure against hackers.
7. Switch to layered security
Gone are the days when a single username and password will cut it. With so many malware attacks pointed at individual employees, it’s critical to protect your assets with more robust protection.
8. Train your team
If your staff have never faced an attack or had cybersecurity training, there’s no telling what each individual deems safe or malicious online. Regular and comprehensive security awareness and training is one of the best tools you have at stopping cybercriminals.
Basics like using strong passwords, opening only trusted email addresses, clicking only trusted links or attachments, and so on will only strengthen your security.
With the majority of ransomware attacks directed specifically at staff, it’s critical that you use them as your first line of defense. Ongoing education is the answer.
9. Use privileged access
Not every team member needs access to every asset any time of day. In fact, restricting access to certain software or applications will protect your company from ransomware that much more.
Why? Cybercriminals who use malware to infect an individual’s computer only have access to what that person has access to.
By limiting access with privileged access management, you’ll be able to drastically decrease any data breaches that might occur.
Ransomware is a terrifying reality for businesses of all shapes and sizes. But you don’t have to be a victim; start by following the nine ways to prevent ransomware above.
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Circa Las Vegas
Thurs. Aug 5th
Cybersecurity Reunion Pool Party at BlackHat 2021