A Simple Guide To Preventing A Ransomware Attack
In 2020/2021, ransomware accounted for more than 27 percent of successful malware incidents.
Cyber-extortion, known as ransomware, attacks computer systems by infiltrating them with malicious software and encrypting data, holding it hostage until the victim pays a ransom.
Attacks of this type can damage an organization much more than other attacks.
Ransomware can cause notable financial and operational losses in the short-term term. It can cause even more losses over the long term by impacting a company’s reputation, raising the likelihood that insurance companies will raise premiums, and by motivating attackers to retarget a business.
Ransomware attacks are becoming more popular because the victims have been paying massive amounts to the attackers in some recent cases.
Instead of hoping to decrease losses from ransomware, organizations should focus on preparedness and early mitigation. The following steps can help reduce your company’s chances of being hacked by ransomware.
Evaluate your company’s risk profile and conduct penetration tests to determine the attack surface, levels of security resilience, and your level of preparedness to defend against attacks using tools, processes, and skills.
If your business does not have the in-house expertise to conduct audits of this type, you should seek the help of an IT service provider experienced in cyber-security. In addition to containing actionable information, a cyber-security audit from a third party will also give you peace of mind, as well as demonstrate your commitment to keeping your organization secure.
Enact and enforce governance
Even before you prepare to react to a ransomware attack, develop processes and compliance procedures in your organization. An organization’s reputation can be damaged, and revenue lost when ransomware becomes a crisis in no time.
To ensure that your processes are practical and will be adhered to, key staff, board members and stakeholders need to be involved in their development.
Regularly test the environment to identify vulnerabilities, non-compliant systems, and misconfigurations and detect ransomware attacks.
Be sure your incident response processes are not themselves constrained by IT systems susceptible to ransomware attacks, which is too easily overlooked.
Performing regular simulated attacks will ensure that your staff members know any malicious emails and keep processes in place to deal with them. Various Cyber-Awareness Training services, such as those offered by the industry-leading KnowBe4, include simulations of attacks as a component.
Your response should be backed up and tested.
In addition to the data kept on-site, you may also need to protect any data hosted by your company and the supporting system infrastructure.
If you are using online backups, be sure that the backups are not encrypted by ransomware. You should ensure regular and reliable backups and recovery capabilities.
You should also pay close attention to the way you backup overall.
You should first decide on your recovery time (RTO) and recovery point (RPO) objectives and then benchmark a test recovery procedure to measure how your current provisions measure up.
Your RTO is the number of minutes it will take to restore your systems to regular operation in the event of a disaster. In contrast, your RPO is the most significant amount of time that can have passed between your latest backup and the end of the disaster.
Another way of putting it is that lost productivity from a successful attack = RTO (time to recover) + RPO (time since the last successful backup).
By decreasing recovery time (improving your recovery process or technology) and enhancing the frequency of your backups, you can minimize the disruption and lost productivity your business will suffer from an attack.
Apply the principle of least privilege
Providing a good cybersecurity practice requires restricting permissions and preventing unauthorized access to devices, removing local administrator rights from end-users, and disabling automated application installations, replacing them with the means for centrally managed software distribution.
Wherever possible/practical, businesses ought to implement two-factor authentication (2FA). Privileged users should have to comply with this.
It would also be possible to detect unusual activity in an ideal world and take preventative measures against failed authentication attempts.
Users need to be educated.
Cyber-attacks can be defeated only by the awareness and diligence of those utilizing the business systems daily.
Companies can create basic training programs for their staff by following guidelines provided by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Gov.uk. To achieve better results, ransomware preparedness training needs to be customized for each organization.
Even better, and we discussed earlier, is to use cyber-attack simulation tools for mock drills and training that resemble real-life scenarios for better preparedness among end-users.
By having a preparedness strategy in place for dealing with ransomware and other forms of malware and the ever-changing agendas and tactics of hackers, a business can minimize the risks and be protected from losses.
Are you ready to take the first steps toward better cybersecurity?
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