How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks at the Earliest Stages

Ransomware attacks are among the most challenging threats that security teams face around the world. All organizations, irrespective of their size, are becoming targets of ransomware attacks where, instead of stealing data, cybercriminals hold data hostage and demand a ransom payment. 

We’ve seen an exponential increase in ransomware attacks in the last decade: 

  • The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported 2,084 ransomware complaints from January to July 31, 2021. This represents a 62% year-over-year increase.
  • Approximately 37% of global organizations said they were the victim of some form of a ransomware attack in 2021 (2021 Ransomware Study). 
  • Ransomware is part of 10% of all cybersecurity breaches. It doubled in frequency in 2021 (Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report). 
  • Since 2020, there have been more than 130 different ransomware strains detected (VirusTotal Ransomware in a Global Context Report): 
  • 95% of all the ransomware samples are Windows-based executable files — or dynamic link libraries. 

How to Prevent Ransomware

Defending against ransomware demands a holistic, all-hands-on-deck approach that brings your entire organization together. Below we have outlined some key practices that you can take to prevent a ransomware attack;

1- Maintain Offline Backups

While having virtual backups is good, storing data backup offline keeps you safer from the risk of losing your data. This means consistent backups, saving multiple copies, and monitoring to ensure backups hold true to the original. Using cloud services could also help you mitigate ransomware infection, as many abstain from previous versions of files allowing you to roll back to an unencrypted version. However, make sure to test the backups on a regular basis for efficacy. Restoring data after an attack is usually your best approach, making reliable backups key to ransomware protection.

2- Develop Plans and Policies

Having an cyber security incident response plan in place could help your organization stay protected from ransomware attacks. Having cloud security assessment services will give your IT team a helping hand to plan for your company’s IR plan. They will help you train employees on what to do in case of any cyberattack. The plan must also include defined roles and communications to be shared during an attack.

3- Know Everything in Your Network

Knowing an inventory of every device and application in your network can help you identify the infected machine and separate it instantly to prevent the ransomware from spreading throughout your network. This procedure will also help ease your efforts to keep your software and hardware updated. For this, you need to build a comprehensive list of your network inventory to track assets that need to be updated. Having managed application security testing services will help you in the process of defending your software and hardware from any malicious activity.

4- Think Before You Click

Malicious links are usually the most common way to spread a ransomware attack through phishing emails. Social media sites and text messages are also a source of spreading cyber threats in your network. The best way to defend against this is by not clicking on any suspicious links, even if you receive them from a family member or a colleague. If you still have second thoughts even after checking the link, try reaching them out through a different communication network to verify its authenticity.

5- Restrict Use of Elevated Privilege

Ransomware can only encrypt files that are accessible to a particular user on their system – except it contains code that can uplift a user’s privileges as part of the attack, which is where patching and zero trust come into play.

Conclusion:

As ransomware threats grow, cyber security services remain a prospective solution for organizations that want to keep their assets safe. Clos Technologies is among the best cyber security companies in Pakistan, helping you find vulnerabilities in your infrastructure, providing you with a business IT risk assessment, and a mitigation plan to protect you from cyber threats like ransomware.

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