Stay One Step Ahead: Prevent Ransomware Attacks with these Proven Strategies
Cyberattacks aren’t going anywhere. Armies of hackers launch cyberattacks daily in the form of malicious attachments, malicious software, and ransomware threats designed to exploit your security vulnerabilities.
A ransomware attack is costly, inconvenient, and devastating to your corporate reputation. It can take weeks to recover data losses and years to recoup the client-company trust you had established with your customers.
But there are measures you can take to prevent ransomware attacks. Proven strategies (like the ones we’ll explore below) can help minimise the risk of ransomware accessing your operating systems.
Here are the top six security measures we recommend to prevent ransomware attacks and keep your operating systems safe from ransomware infection.
What is a ransomware attack?
A ransomware attack is a cyber attack in which hackers infiltrate your operating system, encrypt your data, and demand a ransom in exchange for the encryption code. It can result in cataclysmic data losses for your company or unbearably expensive costs to purchase the encryption code from the hackers.
Anyone can be the victim of a ransomware attack – government bodies, healthcare providers, and educational institutions have all been impacted by these cyber threats in recent months. Businesses like law firms or insurance companies that amass significant amounts of sensitive client data are popular targets.
Ransomware and the innumerable ransomware variants are a nasty threat to your cyber security. Here’s how to stop them:
Regular data backups and testing
Ransomware attacks operate on the threat of data loss. If hackers can exploit security vulnerabilities that would cause you to lose your valuable data, they figure you’ll pay whatever cost they demand.
But ransomware is less effective if you have regularly updated backup files that are kept in a secure, physically remote location safe from thieves. Even if hackers sidestep your security measures and launch a ransomware infection, you can restore your data via your backup files.
You must routinely back up your data for this security tool to work. Store it in a separate server with its own encryption, and release the encryption key only to your security team. And critically, you should test your restoration process regularly to ensure it works when needed.
Multi-layered security solutions
Employ an arsenal of security tools to keep your data safe. These could be a combination of tools like:
- Intrusion detection systems
- Anti-malware software
- Multi-factor authentication
- Domain message authentication reporting
The more security tools you use, the higher your level of data security. Stay current with your software updates for each tool, and regularly test them to ensure they’re working. Keep access codes safe and available to a strictly limited number of trusted employees.
If you don’t understand how security solutions like firewalls and anti-malware software work together, speaking with a cybersecurity expert is prudent. We, or any other reputable data protection company, can help you create a practically impenetrable security wall around your sensitive data.
Employee training and awareness
One of the best vulnerability management tools is a well-trained staff. Help your employees keep data safe by arming them with knowledge of phishing scams, suspicious email attachments, and other social engineering tactics ransomware attackers use.
Employees should understand the cyber threats that go hand-in-hand with work conveniences like a remote desktop protocol. Giving anyone remote access to a desktop allows them to use that computer for any purpose they choose – even illegal ones.
Similarly, employees should understand precisely what happens when they accidentally download malicious code, either as an email attachment or as a clicked link. When staff understand the mechanics behind ransomware attacks, they’ll be better able to avoid them.
Provide training sessions to improve employees’ competency in avoiding scams. Simulate phishing attacks so they know how to identify and deal with cyber threats when they encounter them.
Segmented network architecture
Segmenting your network architecture helps keep your data safe by keeping each subnet under a separate lock and key. Even if hackers gain access to one part of your computer network, they won’t be able to access the others.
Isolating critical systems and doubling down on security protocols for sensitive data offers a more robust level of security for the information that needs it most. Limiting lateral movement within a computer network limits the impact of a ransomware attack.
Behavioural analysis and anomaly detection
Hackers deploying ransomware can be stopped early in an attack with vigilant monitoring. Set up security tools that monitor access to your data and detect unusual activity patterns in your computer networks.
Behavioural analysis of your operating systems and anomaly detection software that identifies abnormal patterns can help sound the alarm. That way, you can limit the damage done by hackers who have accessed your system or even stop the installation of malicious code in your computer network.
Incident response plan and communication strategy
When you realise you’ve been the victim of a ransomware attack, swift action is of the essence. Now is the time to develop a comprehensive incident response plan that describes in exhaustive detail the steps to take in a ransomware incident. If you don’t already have an incident response plan, you should create one as a priority within the month.
Each security team member should have specific roles and responsibilities described in the response plan. Establish clear communication channels so that each team member knows who to contact and what information should be provided as you work to restore your data and lock down your networks.
The best ransomware prevention is expert data security
At BackupVault, we can help you create the best backup plan for your organisation. One that is immune from ransomware.
We’ve been a proven name in data security for over 20 years, with 1,000s of happy clients worldwide. Our servers are located in the UK, and we use only the most reliable technology providers.