NetworkTigers discusses keeping business-critical applications safe from ransomware and hackers.
Ransomware is a growing risk for many organizations. Apart from the reputational damage and business disruption caused by ransomware attacks, the average ransomware recovery cost is $1.85 million. As more ransomware groups emerge, lured by the enormous profit potential, it’s critical to begin taking action to prevent legal, operational, and financial damages from ransomware attacks.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is malware designed to secretly infect and encrypt files, infiltrate servers, then hold the information hostage until a ransom is paid. This malware spreads throughout shared devices or connected computers within the victim’s network.
Once ransomware takes hold, it locks systems down, encrypts files, and doesn’t return access until you pay a ransom. Enterprises that refuse to give in to the financial demands of hackers face the threat of their confidential information being leaked on the internet.
Ransomware is usually initiated by users tricked into clicking on harmful links that download infected files from external sites. Users unknowingly execute the ransomware file, which takes advantage of computer vulnerabilities to infiltrate a company’s network.
The ransomware displays a message on network systems demanding a ransom in exchange for a decryption key after encrypting all files.
Types of ransomware
Ransomware attacks are increasingly becoming complicated. Unfortunately, most enterprises underestimate the urgency of implementing robust security solutions. Here are different types of ransomware attacks:
- Screen lockers – Freezes users out of their computers. In most scenarios, a window appears with a government seal, claiming that an official organization has discovered illegal activities on your computer.
- Phishing emails – In this attack, hackers send a deceptive email that imitates a trusted sender. This involves sending email attachments with hidden links that infect your servers with ransomware once users click on them.
- Scareware – This attack involves pop-ups that appear with threats indicating someone has accessed your encrypted files and the only way to access them is to pay.
- Crypto ransomware – Valuable information and individual files are targeted and locked down.
- Locker ransomware – Locks down the entire computer, making it difficult for users to use their devices.
- Encrypting ransomware – This attack uses advanced software to encrypt your business information.
Nowadays, most ransomware attacks combine several complicated strategies, such as deploying double extortion. In this case, criminals demand two ransoms. One to prevent them from exposing your private data online and another to return access to your information.
Ransomware has huge potential for financial gain, that dedicated groups have emerged offering ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). The groups develop malware and charge a subscription fee or provide ransomware tools to hackers willing to pay a percentage of the payments they receive
How to prevent ransomware attacks
There are simple things you can do to reduce the risk of your organization falling victim to ransomware infection. The following steps can help you protect your company against attacks and protect its sensitive data.
Educate your employees
While it’s essential to implement the necessary policies and technology, your business may be vulnerable to ransomware if you haven’t implemented an employee training program. Lack of knowledge among your staff makes it easy for criminals to affect your network with malware.
Without training, even intelligent employees can allow ransomware in. Offer thorough training on how to distribute confidential information and ensure you provide refresher training every year.
Put in place strong spam filters
It is best to have robust spam filters to protect your messaging services and emails. DomainKeys Identified Mail, Sender Policy Framework, and domain message authentication reporting are valuable tools to help you verify inbound emails and block phishing emails.
Without implementing these measures, it’s easy for your workforce to accidentally click on malicious links and help criminals access your network.
Implement a data backup and recovery plan
Every business should have a documented and updated disaster recovery plan. Regular backups boost your enterprise’s chance of recovery if ransomware infects your network. Aim to save three copies of your business information on different media, with a copy stored in the cloud or off-site. This way, you can easily restore your operating systems if ransomware infects your main network.
Use updated security software
Consistently implement upgrades to any applications or software you use to protect your network against threats. Updating your software regularly might seem time-consuming and an inconvenience, but it’s essential for IT security. You’ll also need to apply the latest security patches to all organization devices, applications, and computers.
Deploy layered software applications and security hardware
If you want to give your business strong protection against malware, layer multiple security measures. Most businesses require antivirus software, spam filters, anti-malware programs, firewalls such as Cisco Firewalls, and cybersecurity experts to help them manage different protocols.
Protect your organization against ransomware attacks with cyber awareness training
Implementing a holistic security program is one of the best ways to protect your company against attacks. NetworkTiger’s compliance operation tools make it easier for your business to evaluate its readiness to deal with cyber threats, including ransomware. Contact us today to see how we can help you develop a robust security program that protects against ransomware.