Tips on keeping your business safe from ransomware

safe business

Ransomware is an especially damaging type of malware. Once it gets into a system, the ransomware code locks down files permanently. The victim gets a prompt with a message from the hackers – pay a certain amount of money, usually in a cryptocurrency, and we’ll send you the key to unlock your files.

According to ransomware statistics, these types of attacks have dropped in frequency – but increased in efficiency. A ransomware attack can be devastating for a business, stopping everything from production lines to client interaction dead in their tracks.

Here are a few preventive steps an organization can take to diminish the danger of this sometimes fatal virus.

Backup, backup, backup

The first line of defense is a comprehensive backup strategy. Getting files encrypted does much less damage when most of them have recent backups.

Businesses need to have a good backup plan which includes:

  • Planning what files are being backed up.
  • Where the files are being backed up to.
  • Choosing a backup software solution.
  • A person tasked with carrying out the backup activities.
  • A strict backup time schedule.

The plan also needs to include a priority hierarchy, long time archive of closed projects, and a consideration towards data retention laws.

Device segregation

Ransomware spreading through a computer network spells big and sometimes irreversible trouble.

A way of mitigating the spread is restricting writing permissions between devices, unless they are absolutely necessary.

An infected device should be immediately quarantined and taken out of the network.

Keep software up to date

Unintentional downloads of malicious code, known as drive-by downloads, are one of the leading causes of malware infections.

These malicious codes often need to use outdated plugins, such as Flash, or vulnerable web applications, such as WordPress, Joomla o JBOSS. Keeping all browsers, plugins and applications up to date is an essential part of keeping a safe computer network.

Anti-phishing measures

Phishing is the entry point for two-thirds of ransomware attacks. A single click on an infected email can jeopardize an entire organization.

There are dedicated software solutions that scan inbound emails for threats. This is a must-have as a first line of defense.

New, yet uncategorized strains of ransomware that software cannot detect is constantly being produced. Besides, many phishing emails are purely textual.

For example, phishing simulations show that employees almost automatically click on emails from HR and payroll. This is why employee education is paramount.

Conclusion

Cyber-attacks have become one of the biggest and most real threats to a business.

If your files do end up being held for ransom, both governments and cybersecurity providers recommend against paying the criminals. There are never any guarantees that the criminals will follow up on their promise, and paying them encourages them that crime does indeed pay.

By having updated software, a good backup system, a secure network and an educated staff, you decrease the chances of becoming a victim.

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