If you have not noticed, ransomware is no longer an occasional customer-oriented threat. Successful ransomware attacks have been occupying our news headlines at a growing rate and affecting companies of various sizes. Cybercriminals are only going to continue getting more calculated in their approach.
Take the Colonial Pipeline as an example. The Colonial Pipeline is the most extensive refined oil pipeline system in the United States. In May of this year, they had to pay roughly $5 million in ransom to hackers infiltrating their network and holding their data hostage. The truth of the matter is that no one is safe from a ransomware attack.
At LDI, our Managed IT team works with our clients to make sure they have a secure network that's protected from ransomware attacks. We've seen common gaps in security postures across dozens of companies we've worked with, which is what we'll dive into in this article.
This article will cover what ransomware is and how it works. We will then take a deeper look at four significant ways your company can prevent a ransomware attack. After reading this article, you will understand what ransomware is and how to avoid an attack best should one ever occur.
What Is Ransomware And How Does It Work?
Ransomware is a malicious attack carried out by hackers. They infiltrate your network and get access to your important data and hold it hostage until the ransom is paid.
Historically, cybercriminals have locked out or jumbled important files so that the owner cannot read them anymore.
The cybercriminal will usually leave a ransom note stating something to the effect of, “We have your documents, and if you want them back, you will need to pay X amount.” A ransomware note will also include a time frame where if the ransom is not paid, the owner of the documents will be permanently locked out and unable to access them again.
Once a cybercriminal has your files, there’s a wide range of things they can do to threaten you into paying them the ransom.
For example, they can encrypt your files, exfiltrate and copy them, blackmail you with the information within those files, and threaten to leak those files that could damage your company’s reputation should they release them to the public.
Ransomware is no joke and should inspire all companies to prioritize their cybersecurity efforts moving forward.
4 Major Ways To Prevent A Ransomware Attack
As noted earlier, every company is at risk of an alleged ransomware attack affecting them and their clients. Yet, not every company has a good idea of how to stay protected and prevent a future attack from happening.
The topic of ransomware can be a bit daunting, so let’s break it down into four particular ways your company can stay prepared for a ransomware attack.
1. User Awareness Training
Unfortunately, the human element tends to be the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain.
More often than not, employees can fall for phishing scams that give cybercriminals a pathway into your company’s network.
For your employees to understand what ransomware is and what signs to look for, schedule regular user awareness training for them with your IT team or a managed IT provider. User awareness training can teach employees what warning signs to look out for and how to best avoid them.
Ensuring that your team is aware of the plausible cybersecurity risks and knowledgeable on determining one can help keep your company protected.
2. Implement Record Of Financial Transactions
Adopting a multi-layered security approach includes protecting your network through not just one but several cybersecurity components. These components involve:
While a traditional firewall provides an inspection of network traffic, incoming and outcoming, a next-generation firewall includes additional elements such as integrated intrusion prevention and application awareness and control.
A next-generation firewall can effectively find, control applications, and block any unauthorized inbound connections from routing into your network.
End Point Detection & Response (EDR) Software
Endpoint detection and response software combine endpoint antivirus and endpoint management solutions to find and remove any suspicious software from a protected device.
This tool can be used to quickly identify and remediate any endpoint infection and prevent system failure or data loss from happening.
Good Cyber Hygiene
Maintaining good cybersecurity hygiene involves abiding by a particular practice of steps and precautions that employees can follow regarding their computing devices.
This practice will involve a proper routine that all computer users can follow daily to ensure the safety of one’s identity and data are secure.
A cyber hygiene practice can involve routine scheduled password changes, software, and hardware updates, removing admin-level access to specific programs, installation management, and updating a thorough cybersecurity plan for the organization as a whole.
3. Update All Software
All of your company’s cybersecurity-related software and regular software applications must be kept updated.
Running outdated software can lead to potential data breaches while also slowing down your business operations.
Using Patch Management Software will automate managing a network of computers by performing regularly scheduled patch deployment. Through patch management, your company’s network will be kept up-to-date and protected with the newest software.
4. Have A Good Backup System
Having a solid backup system can make all the difference when you’re trying to recover your company’s network from a ransomware attack.
A backup system or data backup is essentially a copy of computer data and files stored elsewhere. Where you choose to backup your company’s data is up to you.
Some options include a server hosted in the cloud, a cloud storage application such as Dropbox, network-attached storage, or hardcopy prints that you manually printed out and stored in a safe place.
Suppose you’re lucky enough to have a backup system when a ransomware attack occurs. In that case, you can avoid paying any ransom with all of your information securely backed up.
Are You Prepared For A Ransomware Attack?
One incident can significantly affect your business’s reputation, as well as its operations. A ransomware attack can also put a lot of pressure on your IT and cybersecurity team.
Abiding by the four preventative measures mentioned above will set your company up for success in preventing ransomware attacks in the future.
At LDI, we ensure that your company is set up to defend itself. Seeing as the state of ransomware is constantly evolving, our Managed IT team works to ensure that your cybersecurity infrastructure is well set up with the newest software protection and that your team is well trained on the matter.
Connect with an LDI representative today with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your cybersecurity infrastructure.