The methods to ensure their safety online must evolve alongside the expanding technological landscape. Any person or business worth their salt should prioritize developing a ransomware defense strategy. In its absence, users and organizations may be at risk of disclosing sensitive information.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that in 2021 there will be one ransomware attack every 11 seconds, with damages totaling nearly $20 billion. Extortion schemes like these typically go after the people or companies most likely to pay the ransom to get their data back.
That information is the company’s crown jewel in many cases. If lost, it could cause catastrophic failure of the entire operation. Avoid falling behind on ransomware protection measures, as doing so could leave you vulnerable to attacks. If you want to know more about how to prevent ransomware attacks on your data, read on!
The Definition of Ransomware
Here, you may find the answer to the question of ransomware attacks and how to protect from ransomware attacks.
Until a fee, or “ransom,” is paid, sensitive data or personally identifiable information (PII) can be held hostage by ransomware, a sophisticated form of malware that can infect a computer. To extort money from victims, cybercriminals frequently use a binary encryption key to restrict access to data.
Organizations like businesses, hospitals, schools, and the like that rely on this data to function every day are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks.
Among the most typical entry points for ransomware are:
Receiving an email with a malicious attachment or a file extension that is itself infected
Security flaws in computer systems and networks
Infections via the remote desktop protocol (RDP)
How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks?
If you want to know how ransomware attacks work and how ransomware attacks happen, read here. Do not click on links in unsolicited emails or unfamiliar websites, as doing so could compromise your computer.
An infected download may begin immediately after clicking on a malicious link.
Don’t give out private information if you get a call, text, or email from someone you don’t know asking for it.
Ransomware attacks are often deliberate, with cybercriminals attempting to gather personal information to send targeted phishing emails. Contact the sender if you have any doubts about the message’s authenticity.
Regular Employee Training
Educate employees about ransomware threats, how they can be transmitted, and the importance of practicing safe online behaviors such as avoiding suspicious email attachments and links.
Be wary of opening attachments from unknown senders.
Implement robust email security measures, including spam filters, malware scanners, and sender authentication protocols, to block malicious emails and prevent phishing attempts. Email attachments are another standard method for ransomware to infiltrate a device. Stay away from anything that looks suspicious. Pay close attention to the sender and double-check the address to make sure the email is legitimate. Avoid opening attachments that require you to run macros to view them. By opening an infected attachment, you risk executing a malicious macro that grants the malware complete computer control.
Never insert a USB drive or other storage device into your computer if unsure of its origin.
It’s possible that the storage medium was infected by cybercriminals who then left it in a public place.
Update your OS and software regularly: An up-to-date computer system and software are the best defense against malicious software. Keeping up with software updates is essential to take advantage of the most current protections. This makes it more difficult for hackers to exploit your software’s flaws.
Never download files from untrusted sites to avoid the possibility of ransomware.
Use only tried and true download sites. Sites that have earned these seals of approval are safe to use. Verify that “https” rather than “http” appears in your browser’s address bar. In addition, a lock or shield icon in the address bar is a visual cue that the page is encrypted for your safety. Additionally, be wary of what you allow onto your mobile device. Your device determines whether you should use the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, which are reliable.
Choose virtual private network (VPN) services while connected to public Wi-Fi.
Using public Wi-Fi networks cautiously is a practical defense against ransomware. Use caution when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, as your device will be more susceptible to malicious software. If you must conduct sensitive business online, you should not use public Wi-Fi or a VPN.
Web Application Firewall and Security Technology
Filtering and monitoring HTTP traffic to and from a web service is one way a web application firewall (WAF) aids in keeping websites secure. Because it is the first line of defense against cyberattacks, it is essential to any security system. It’s not uncommon for the attack surface to grow as a company implements new digital initiatives. Web server vulnerabilities, server plugins, and other issues can leave newly released web apps and APIs vulnerable to harmful traffic: these applications and the content they access benefit from the protection provided by a WAF.
Exchanging Information About Potential Dangers
The kind of real-time, actionable intelligence provided by FortiGuard Labs is essential for organizations to counteract threats that can’t be seen effectively. To offer a preventative defense, information must be shared between your environment’s various security layers and products. Organizations outside of your own, such as Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), and industry coalitions like the Cyber Threat Alliance, should also be included in this information-sharing (CTA). The best way to counter cyber attacks and stop their spread is to share information quickly before they mutate or spread to other networks and businesses.
Safeguarding Endpoint Devices
Antivirus software of before has flaws, and it often fails to keep up with the constantly evolving dangers of today. Organizations must use an endpoint discovery and response (EDR) solution and other technologies to protect endpoint devices adequately.
In today’s threat landscape, advanced attacks can compromise endpoints in minutes, if not seconds. Because of the need for human intervention in triaging and responding, first-generation EDR tools can’t keep up. They are too sluggish to keep up with the hyper-realistic threats of the present, and they flood security teams with unnecessary alerts. In addition to hurting the business, outdated EDR security tools can increase the expense of security operations and slow network processes and capabilities.
To counter this, EDR solutions of the future provide comprehensive pre- and post-infection protection for endpoints through advanced threat intelligence, visibility, analysis, management, and security. Proactively lowering the attack surface, preventing malware infection, and automating response and remediation procedures with configurable playbooks are all made easier with the help of EDR solutions that can detect and defuse potential threats in real-time.
Backups of Critical Data and Problem-Solving
Your company’s systems and data should have off-network backups that can be performed as needed. You should also test your backups to make sure you can reliably recover.
A well-thought-out incident response plan can help your company weather a ransomware attack with minimal disruption. Assignments should be made in advance and followed through on. I mean, who are you going to call if you need forensic analysis assistance? To what extent do you have access to professionals who can aid system restoration when required? You should also conduct regular drills to restore operations after a ransomware attack.
Robust Endpoint Protection
Deploy and maintain effective endpoint protection solutions on all devices to detect and block ransomware threats, including antivirus and anti-malware software.
Carrying out a Zero-Security System
The zero-trust security model treats every connection request as if it were from a malicious actor. According to proponents of this approach to network defense, no user, internal or external, can be trusted without first having their identity confirmed. In a zero-trust network, both external and internal threats are treated as equally serious. Because of these presumptions, network administrators are compelled to create impenetrable security systems.
With a zero-trust policy, access to any system or service is contingent upon exhaustive authentication of the requesting user or device. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is used for this checking; users must present multiple forms of identification before access is granted. Network Access Control (NAC) is a part of zero-trust that prevents intruders from connecting to a private or public network. Only authorized users and devices that have passed authentication and comply with security policies can access the network.
Regular Data Backups
Regularly back up critical data and ensure backups are stored securely offline or in a separate network. This helps protect data in case of a ransomware attack and enables quick recovery without paying the ransom.
Implement network segmentation to separate critical systems and sensitive data from the rest of the network. This limits the impact of a potential ransomware infection and prevents lateral movement.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems
Deploy intrusion detection and prevention systems to detect and block suspicious network activity associated with ransomware attacks.
Incident Response Planning
Develop a comprehensive incident response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in case of a ransomware attack. This includes isolating infected systems, notifying appropriate authorities, and restoring backup data.
Continuous Monitoring and Threat Intelligence
Continuously monitor network activity for signs of compromise and leverage threat intelligence sources to stay updated on the latest ransomware threats and attack techniques.
Up-to-Date Software and Patch Management
Keep all software, operating systems, and applications updated with the latest security patches and updates. Ransomware attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software.
Network Security: Firewalls and Isolation
As the use of clouds grows, network segmentation becomes more crucial, especially in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud setups. By dividing their networks into distinct sections, businesses can better allocate resources and control access based on employees’ roles and the level of trust they currently have in each unit. Every network request is carefully assessed based on the user’s current level of trustworthiness. If threats break into the network, this is a great way to stop them from spreading laterally within the network.
Preventing ransomware attacks requires a comprehensive and proactive approach to cybersecurity. By implementing these measures above, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to ransomware. This proactive approach helps safeguard valuable data and systems, mitigating the risk of falling victim to malicious actors who seek to hold them hostage.