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Protecting your organization against ransomware attacks

Ransomware is one of the most dominating cyber threats today, and companies that are yet to formulate strong cybersecurity measures are making a colossal mistake. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, in 2021, businesses could fall victim to ransomware every 11 seconds. So, it is imperative that businesses learn about ransomware and take preventive measures to defend themselves against this looming threat.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is the kind of malware that perpetrators use to attack and take charge of crucial data until a sum of money is paid as a ransom. The attackers encrypt the victim’s critical data making it inaccessible until a ransom is paid. Today’s ransomware is so advanced that it can worm through vast networks, attack file servers and databases, and even paralyze an entire organization.

How does it work?

Ransomware are usually spread through phishing emails, but it also does through websites and drive-by downloads. Typically, it infects an endpoint and penetrates the network to establish its presence. Once the presence is established, it stays on the system until its designated task is accomplished.
Traditionally, ransomware uses asymmetric encryption. It uses a pair of keys to encrypt and decrypt a file, and these keys are customized and meant explicitly for the intended victim. One key is used to encrypt the target information, and another key is made available to the victim after the demanded ransom is paid.

What to do when your business is under ransomware attack?

Businesses can be crippled after a ransomware attack, especially those that deal with sensitive data. There’s not much chance to unhook itself from the attack; however, businesses are advised to take these first-step actions when they are caught in the dragnets of a ransomware attack.

  1. Isolate infection: When you suspect your system is under attack, the first thing you do is isolate the infected part from the rest of the systems and storage devices to prevent further spreading.
  2. Identify: In most cases, the ransomware will identify itself. If not, use tools like Crypto Sheriff and ID Ransomware, which can help understand its name and type. Identifying ransomware will help you take the next course of action.
  3. Report: Report the attack to the authorities at the earliest. This will help to understand who’s behind the attack and how severe the issue is.
  4. Weigh your options: Once your system is under attack, you are left with three options: 1) Pay the ransom and get back your data, 2) Try and remove the ransomware, or 3) Format the system and reinstall everything from scratch. It is you who have to decide which option would be the most sensible for your business.

Best practices to keep ransomware attacks at bay

With threats like ransomware, it’s imperative to take preemptive measures before it strikes. Here are a set of best practices you can follow to protect your system against ransomware.

  1. The first line of defense is protection. Use effective anti-virus and anti-malware software and implement a robust security policy
  2. Practice taking immutable backups, where you can quickly restore (unharmed) data, deploy and return to business without any interruptions.
  3. Focus on protecting endpoints, network systems, and email servers through relevant security software
  4. Educate and build awareness among your team on the latest phishing scams and other cyber malpractices. Implement necessary protocols and exercise cyber hygiene when opening unknown email attachments
  5. Ensure your security software is updated. Make sure you patch them early and patch them as often to protect your browsers, OS, web plugins, and other applications against ransomware

It is essential to detect ransomware activity before it strikes and creates widespread damage. Using anti-ransomware technologies and policy-based monitoring, companies can identify suspicious activities in real-time and quarantine infected data.

Netlabs is one of the pioneers in providing state of the art Cyber Security & Compliance services to help de-risk operations and future-proof your business for better outcomes. Talk to us today to learn more about how our solutions can help your business.

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  1. The key reason why ransomware has boomed: because it works. All it takes for ransomware to gain entry to your network is for one user to slip up and launch a malicious email attachment, or to re-use a weak password.