How To Prevent Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks are occurring more often, but there are effective ways that companies can thwart them. Follow our strategies outlined here, and you keep your company data safe.
Ransomware is a type of malware that breaches a company’s network and runs an attack that encrypts or locks vital data and files on your network.
Criminals use ransomware attacks to force companies to pay them to regain access to their data and files. Unfortunately, paying criminals to access your information only leads to more problems.
That’s why it’s essential to follow the guidelines described here to prevent ransomware attacks.
Never Pay Ransom
The first rule is never pay the ransom. Rewarding bad behavior only encourages it. Even if your company pays the ransom, you don’t know for sure that you will get access to the files again.
Don’t Provide Personal Information
Your employees shouldn’t provide personal information when they respond to an email or a phone call. They also shouldn’t give personal information when they answer a text. Criminals will try to trick workers into installing malware or will steal knowledge by acting like they work for the IT department.
If you get any strange phone calls at work from people you don’t recognize, check with your IT department to see if they are legitimate.
Alert IT If Traveling
If you’ll be traveling, tell your IT department a few days beforehand. This is especially true if you are going to use public WiFi. You should only use an encrypted Virtual Private Network when accessing public WiFi.
Training workers dramatically reduces the chances of ransomware infections. Most ransomware attacks start with an email. But workers can be trained to detect the most common threats, including phishing, ransomware, and social engineering.
Social engineering means an attacker goes after users on the network who have more access or authorization. The criminals assume these users have access to sensitive data or can access the company’s most critical systems. This makes the company more likely to pay a ransom to stop the attack.
Test your company’s recovery plans by doing simulations and walk-throughs of possible ransomware scenarios. These scenarios should check how effective the company response is and focus on areas that need improvement.
Use Spam Filters
Hackers send millions of emails to random companies every day. The idea is to get an unsuspecting employee to open an email or file, which corrupts the company’s network.
You can avoid most of these threats by using a good spam filter that adapts and updates itself regularly to fight the latest types of attacks. A proper spam filter can prevent at least 99% of these malicious emails from reaching your employees’ inboxes.
Experts say backing up your company’s vital data is the best way to recover from a ransomware attack. But there are several things to keep in mind.
First, all backup files need to be safeguarded and stored offline so criminals can’t target them.
Also, your company should use cloud services to avoid ransomware attacks; many cloud services providers keep older versions of files that you can rely on when needed.
It’s also important to test your backup files regularly to ensure they function correctly. For example, if your company is hit with a ransomware attack, you should make sure backup versions aren’t infected before using them.
Carefully Manage Elevated Privileges
Ransomware can only attack files that a specific user can access. Therefore, you should use caution when you provide elevated privileges to employees. Instead, ensure that the employee needs elevated access to sensitive files and data.
The more workers with elevated privileges, the greater the risk of ransomware attacks.
Break Up Connections Between Operations
Some businesses have separate operations that may be attacked by ransomware to reduce or obstruct output.
These companies should reduce network access between corporate offices and operations for the best security. And Internet access to operations networks should be minimized.
Patch And Update Software
Your company’s IT department should ensure its operating systems, anti-malware software, and other software have the most recent patches and updates.
New versions of ransomware are released regularly by hackers, and software patches ensure that your software recognizes and stops the latest threats.
How To Recover From A Ransomware Attack
If you suffer an attack, the first step is to isolate all affected devices immediately. Then, take these devices offline so the virus can’t spread to other devices.
Some new ransomware may stay inactive on a device and quietly spread to other devices before files are encrypted.
Next, figure out the type of ransomware. Then, use any information in the ransom note to determine if there have been similar attacks. Once the type of attack is identified, your IT team can go to work on stopping it.
After you recover from the attack, it’s vital to train workers more on cybersecurity practices to reduce the chances of future attacks. In addition, training should focus on using preventative actions to avoid future attacks.
Preventing ransomware attacks in your business requires vigilance, backups, user training, and regular software updates. The good news is you can significantly reduce the chances of successful attacks if you adhere to these principles.