6 Important Ways to Protect Your Organization from a Ransomware Attack
With ransomware attacks on the rise, thousands of computers are being hijacked using malicious software that encrypts files & asks for a ransom to restore them. It has hit the healthcare industry particularly hard but this is a wakeup call for all organizations. Hackers may also threaten to delete or corrupt crucial data or expose sensitive data. As per CNN reports, ransomware events have already collected $209 million in this year. The ransom is usually demanded in electronic currency Bitcoin.
According to IT technician Josh Lindsay, “If it’s on Bitcoin they can use it to purchase anything online from gold bullion, to shares, to property even and it’s virtually untraceable.”
Ransomware isn’t a new tactic. Earlier the PGPCoder family and Ransom A also used similar tactic. Arhivieus A, another type of malware, used to coax users into buying pills from a drug store instead of directly demanding money. According to experts, these types of dangerous internet threats will keep appearing in different forms in the upcoming years. But the good news is that you can prevent falling victim if you take a few proactive steps beforehand.
Backup your data
This is indeed the most important step to protect your crucial business data from being hijacked through ransomware. You must make sure that all your important files are backed up properly. You must also make sure that your backup strategy includes a secured & remote backup replica which isn’t accessible from your networked devices.
Add tools to identify any threats on your network
You should implement a host-based intrusion prevention system (IPS) that can help you identify any malicious traffic launched on your system. There are also many other technologies that can help identify ransomware while it is trying to execute on a host or as it is introduced onto the network.
Monitor your users’ security IQ
Do you know 1 in 5 users will definitely click on a bad link that can spread malware across the network? No matter how much you raise awareness among your employees, still 20% of your employees will make a mistake at some point. You should therefore monitor your users’ security IQ by sending them email that seems to have come from an illicit source. This way you can get some idea about the level of security IQ within your employees.
Cover all your bases with the right policies and processes
A secure IT infrastructure is a must for all organizations in order to survive. It is also about maintaining strict and enforceable policies. It is about ensuring that assets don’t get missed by monitoring, anti-malware and anti-virus tools. It is carefully monitoring inbound and outbound network traffic.
Review your policies annually
Remember that your policies and processes are going to degrade over time. Unfortunately, behaviors that aren’t reinforced are forgotten. Your workforce will start taking shortcuts. It’s therefore important to check your policies and processes every year to ensure that they are aligned with your organization’s requirements.
Remember ransomware is just one piece of the security pie
Ransomware is just one piece out of thousands of potential risks. Experts assume that this type of internet threat will keep appearing in different forms in the future. It is therefore important to harden your defenses which require a deep dive into understanding your “security maturity.”
Internet threats like ransomware can cripple your organization. It can hamper your business operations and productivity. But thankfully it can be prevented. A successful defense against internet threats like ransomware is as simple as implementing a reliable and effective backup plan. Also, make sure that your workforce is properly educated. Don’t forget to review your security processes and policies on a regular basis.