Ransomware — the dreaded word that is causing terror all over the world. It’s a type of malicious software that runs on your local computers, encrypts files, disables them, and demands a ransom for decryption. Just over the past year, ransomware like WannaCry, Locky and Petya among others, have been wreaking havoc everywhere, from banks, the healthcare industry and the tech world to entertainment networks and even governments.
The bitter truth is that ransomware is a growing threat, with the sheer number of professional cyber gangs using it, on the rise. In fact, a company is hit with ransomware every 40 seconds, according to Barkly, which also states that 71% of companies targeted by ransomware attacks have been infected. Complying with hackers in the case of an infection only opens the door for further attacks, so the best measure is ransomware prevention. Here’s how to prevent ransomware attacks and ensure cyber security with these simple preemptive measures.
Update your system:
Running outdated software or operating systems only makes you more vulnerable to malware. Ransomware outfits exploit the known vulnerabilities of outdated systems to creep in and spread the infection. Always turn your updates on and download the latest version of a software or your cybersecurity program whenever it’s available, to protect yourself.
Backup your data:
This advice goes beyond just ransomware attacks too. Backing up your systems drastically reduces the risk and fear of being infected, as you can stay assured in the knowledge that your data is safe. Backup your files and information from your devices onto a completely different storage system that is not connected to the internet. Using expert cloud services for data backup will also outsource the job of protecting your data and help in significantly controlling the damage, in the event of an infection.
Install anti-malware programs:
An obvious, but often overlooked cybersecurity measure is the installation of an effective and trusted anti-malware software that can identify threats or suspicious behaviour and help thwart attacks. Installing a firewall also creates an extra shield of protection. These programs scan filed even before they are downloaded and executed, block hidden installations that come from malicious ads and prevent the possibility of an attack. It’s also imperative to keep updating your security software as the makers constantly upgrading it to protect against newer kind of threats.
Sometimes, the best prevention is as simple as not clicking on a link! Most ransomware comes through emails and is installed on a machine once the links are clicked on or if the attachments are downloaded and opened. Follow basic cybersecurity protocols to stay safe from ransomware. Don’t open suspicious attachments or click on unknown links. Double check emails and their senders before downloading any attachments or executing any files. Even if the mail is allegedly coming from your bank or from trusted service providers, verify before clicking on anything.
Show hidden file-extensions:
The default behaviour of Windows OS is to hide file extensions, and ransomware attacks often exploit this knowledge. Since viruses and malware show up in the form of .PDF or .EXE files, enabling the ability to see the full file extension on your OS will help you better in spotting suspicious files. You can even create filters on your email provider to flag off emails with these file extensions. If you are in a work environment where there is a genuine need to share .EXE or .PDF files, create a system where such files are shared only via cloud services or as password-protected ZIP files.
Other hacks to stay safe:
Those in the know can take many other measures that can minimize the likelihood of a ransomware attack. Implement strict Group Policy Rules. Block the execution of binaries running from %APPDATA% and %TEMP% paths as most ransomware use these locations to infect. Ransomware can use Tor to disguise outbound communication from infected machines, so adding block rules to firewall can help in the identification of an infection machine in the event of a compromise and help remove it from the network. It’s also important to limit permissions on network shared files as much as possible to block the ransomware from accessing your entire network. Disabling Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which allows remote access to a desktop, can also prevent malware from targeting machines.
Ransomware attacks are some of the biggest threats to today’s cyber landscape. In case of infection, there’s not much that can be done without the possibility of data loss and the wastage of time and money. Though there’s no foolproof, reliable way to stay fully protected against malicious software, following preventive measures diligently can significantly reduce the odds of an attack.
With Cloud4C offering a very convenient and efficient Cyber Security Controls all it takes to keep your business applications safe, in the event of a ransomware attack. Prevention is truly better than cure when it comes to cybersecurity!
Should you need any information on how Cloud4C can help preventing cyber threats, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss more.