Taking Precautions against Ransomware

Taking Precautions against Ransomware

The WannaCry Attack

By now you’ve probably heard all about the recent WannaCry cyberattack that infected an estimated 200,000 computers globally, including systems at hospitals, universities, and government offices.  Hackers unleashed a virus based on software stolen from the United States National Security Agency to attack Microsoft Windows and take control of computer systems around the world.

Then they sent messages to users demanding they pay a ransom to regain control of their computers.

 

Even though most companies did not pay the ransom demanded for their data, the attackers sent a shock wave around the world.  Large corporations, small to medium-sized businesses, government agencies, healthcare facilities, and all other internet users are vulnerable to attack.  Your data could be held hostage.  You could well be the one receiving the next high tech ransom notice.

 

What Kind of Cyberattack Will Be Next?

The WannaCry crisis may be under control, but the fact remains that ransomware and other types of cyberattacks are not going away.  The group that posted the N.S.A. tools online has, in fact, threatened to post different types of malware soon.  We don’t know what the next cyber-crisis will be, but we do know there will be one.

 

That’s why you need to act now to protect your computer systems and data.  To help, we’ve compiled a short list of steps you can take to start guarding against ransomware attacks.

 

1. Provide Adequate Training for All Network Users

Cyberattacks typically succeed because end users inadvertently open emails and click on links that spread malicious software through networks.  There is no guarantee that educating users about phishing attack methods will prevent them from unintentionally spreading a virus, but a little knowledge can go a long way toward preventing common occurrences.

 

Your network users should also be aware of the difference between secure and unsecure websites and the dangers in using the latter.  Additionally, they should be using a properly configured VPN to access your network when they are offsite.

 
2. Be Vigilant about Security

Cyberattackers continually look for weaknesses in software that will allow them to deploy their malware.  Fortunately, however, software companies also continually develop security patches to address weaknesses.  The security patches only work if they are applied, so make sure you are continually updating your software.

 

Whitelisting applications can also help protect you, since the list will prevent other executable files from running or installing.  You can also limit systems’ permissions so that software, including malware, can’t be installed without an administrator’s password.

 
3. Back Up Your Data

We all know that we should be using a reliable method to back up our data, but that doesn’t mean backups happen as they should. If your company isn’t presently set up to do consistent, reliable backups, you’re taking the risk that a ransomware attack could disable your business.

 

The best precaution against ransomware is to not be vulnerable to attackers’ threats.  If your data are backed up daily, you won’t be in a position where you have to pay in hopes that you’ll be able to see your data again.

 

Since attackers can encrypt and lock backup systems as well as desktop systems, we suggest using an offsite data backup method or combination of the cloud and a local storage device, keeping in mind that all local storage devices should be offline so attackers can’t reach them.

 
4. Partner with IT Security Experts

Even reliable data backups don’t make ransomware attacks easy to handle, since restoring data can be very time-consuming, and being without access to essential data, even for a short while, can hamper business operations.

 

That’s why we recommend having IT security experts assess your current network security and develop a solution that will provide advanced security against malware, viruses and hackers.  We also recommend developing a backup and disaster recovery plan to ensure fast recovery and quick access to lost files.

 

Protect Your Assets from Ransomware

With new threats to cybersecurity emerging all the time, we can never be sure what kind of attack will occur next.  However, we can protect our assets by taking necessary precautions and partnering with experienced IT security experts to improve network security and develop a strategic backup and disaster recovery plan.
 
The experienced IT experts at SON Technology can design and deliver security solutions and backup and disaster recovery plans to protect you now and in the future.
 
Call 407-936-2220 to speak with an IT expert or use the form on our website to contact us today.

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