Ransomware is a growing threat to any business. The WannaCry ransomware worm alone encrypted over 200,000 computer systems in more than 150 countries last year. For each victim, the hackers behind the attack demanded $300-$600 paid in bitcoin. The infamous Petya and Not Petya together caused losses of $500 million worldwide, affecting multinational corporations in at least 65 countries. As you can see, ransomware costs money, and no single industry is immune to these attacks
Thus, any business should adopt preventive cybersecurity measures to avoid falling victim of a ransomware attack.
Basic Ransomware Prevention Methods.
You will definitely need antivirus software and a reliable firewall to protect your systems, but the single best prevention method against ransomware and similar attacks is to back up your data on a regular basis.
The best backup practice is to store the copies of your sensitive business data in at least two different data storages. Make sure that you have one backup on a cloud storage service or a separate device that is not connected to your main business network. This will protect your files from possible encryption in case someone manages to penetrate your network. To stay on the safe side, use both cloud storage services and a portable hard drive to keep your backups as safe as possible.
As spam and phishing emails are the leading source of ransomware infections, it is important to train your employees to recognize suspicious email messages. You should be aware that even the most sophisticated attacks on industrial facilities usually start by tricking employees into downloading malicious attachments or providing their credentials on rogue websites.
Educate your staff to avoid opening email messages by obscure senders and be careful with suspicious messages that look like they are coming from a legitimate sender. For example, banks never ask for your login credentials, yet we still witness ransomware cases where an ignorant employer provides such information by replying to a phishing email.
You can also configure your servers to block emails that contain exe, .vbs or .scr files as they can be used to run malicious code on your systems.
Keeping all your systems and networks updated and patched is another effective method to prevent your business from ransomware and other cyber threats. It doesn’t take advanced hacking skills to find unpatched software systems and target them with malware.
Advanced Ransomware Prevention Methods.
Preventive measures won’t help if your networking and communication channels have already been compromised, follow this guide for assistance. Therefore, you need to employ a systematic approach towards cybersecurity to protect your systems. If you followed the guide and installed a VPN, you might want to use this tool and check to see if your connection is fast and stable.
First of all, set the access rights and login credentials the right way. Grant the administrator access rights only to those users who actually need them to perform their tasks. You can also set passwords to expire after a certain period to prevent your ex-staff members from accessing company’s accounts. Also, set your systems to ask for strong and unique passwords that contain numbers and special symbols, and demand the change of these passwords at regular intervals.
Keep a good eye on all your communication channels and ports, and pay special attention to the ways you share, upload and download data. For example, an infected USB memory stick may spread ransomware across all your systems if the AutoPlay functionality is activated on a single PC. If you have file sharing enabled on that infected machine, all computers within this network will get infected.
The more WiFi access points you will have, the more ways for hackers to get into your network, so you may also want to keep the number to a minimum.
Any business can employ at least the basic methods to keep their data safe, while more advanced security measures will ensure maximum protection against ransomware and other malware. So educate your employees to follow the best cybersecurity practices, backup all your confidential data, invest in reliable online security tools and you will be safer than ever.