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10 Steps to Protect Against Ransomware

10 Steps to Protect Against Ransomware


Encryption viruses pose a significant threat to businesses of all kinds. If you've kept up with tech news, you'd have undoubtedly heard about companies impacted by these malware strains over recent years. Their prevalence is increasing.

In recent times, we've seen various encryption viruses, including names like WannaCry, BlackCat, Sphynx, and Dark Power. However, their primary goal remains the same: access your corporate information, encrypt all documents and files, and demand a ransom to decrypt the data.

As per MalwareTech Botnet Tracker, currently, over 500,000 computers and more than 200,000 IP addresses worldwide are infected.

Though this issue is widely acknowledged, we still encounter many companies neglecting basic security measures. Today, we'll discuss essential steps to minimize the risk of data loss and potential financial costs.

But first, let's revisit: What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects devices, networks, and data centers, restricting access until a ransom is paid. Ransomware operations can vary:

  • Some may corrupt the operating system, preventing it from booting, while others target specific files, folders, or drives
  • Some ransomware comes with a timer, erasing files unless a ransom is settled within a set timeframe
  • In more extreme cases, infected devices may display inappropriate content

Ultimately, the main objective of ransomware is to hold vital files, databases, or services hostage, demanding a ransom for their release.

Exclamation point Malware can enter devices in various ways, often through infected email attachments or links. Unsuspecting users might also inadvertently download malware when visiting compromised websites, especially those hosting pirated content, or downloading files from untrusted sources.


Strategies to Protect Your Business from Malicious Software

Develop a backup and recovery plan. Regularly backup your system and store all data offline on a separate standalone device.
Use professional e-mail and web security tools that can scan the contents of websites, email attachments, and files for malware. They should also block inappropriate ads and websites that violate company policies. These security tools should include "sandboxing" functionality, which allows new or suspicious programs to run in an isolated virtual space.
Provide technical support and consistently update your operating system, software, and all devices.
Ensure your devices, IPS (Intrusion Prevention Systems), and corporate email protection tools are updated to the latest version.
Where possible, use "Application Whitelisting" (AWL), which can prevent unauthorized downloads or launching of malicious software.
Segment your network into specific security zones, ensuring that malware in one zone cannot spread to others.
Implement access control and enforce it, reducing the number of users with the potential to infect business-critical applications, databases, or services with malware.
Enforce a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) security policy. Under this policy, devices that don't meet established security certificates should be scanned and potentially blocked. This applies when devices lack a client or antivirus software, require critical OS updates, have outdated antivirus definitions, etc.
Engage in retrospective analysis tools. In the event of a malware attack, determine: a) the origin of the malware, b) the duration it was present in your system, c) if it has been eradicated from all devices, and d) the possibility of its return.
Most importantly, do not rely solely on your employees' strict adherence to security guidelines. Despite companies enhancing security training courses and teaching employees not to download files, open email attachments, or click unknown links in messages, humans remain the weakest link in the security chain. This should be taken into account when devising strategies to mitigate potential risks.
Do you have doubts?

If you doubt your company's security system can withstand a ransomware attack, the technical experts at LWCOM are ready to conduct a comprehensive audit. This will allow you to view the situation objectively and obtain documented conclusions and expert recommendations.

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