Ransomware attacks continue to be one of the most prevalent cybersecurity concerns in the technological world today. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) received over 3,700 ransomware complaints in 2021 alone. These reports resulted in over $49.2 million dollars of financial losses. Both businesses and personal consumers are at risk of ransomware attacks. Here are a few tips to help avoid becoming the victim of a ransomware attack.
Before we get into ways to avoid a ransomware attack, reviewing exactly what it is and how it happens can be useful. A ransomware attack is a type of malware that disables a person’s computer or device. The hacker then threatens the victim, requesting that they pay money to regain access to that information. In most cases, the hacker requests payment via cryptocurrency because it’s untrackable. Ransomware attacks aren’t new, and businesses of all sizes have fallen victim.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your business from ransomware attacks:
It can be helpful to conduct routine risk assessments to identify areas of improvement. Free scanning and testing tools can help you reduce your ransomware risk. You should also discuss your security measures and protocols with your dedicated information technology (IT) team to further understand your vulnerabilities.
Many companies work with third-party vendors. While this may improve the efficiency of your business, it can also open you up to security risks, like ransomware. A thorough vetting of all third-party vendors is a must. Putting specific security measures and onboarding protocols in place can help reduce your risk.
Many ransomware attacks occur through email. The hacker may use a phishing email, which appears to come from a known, trusted sender. The email typically requests the recipient to click a link, which then gives the hacker access to their computer. As a consumer, checking that all emails come from trusted senders is important. If you’re unsure, click reply and then review the email.
Securing endpoints is also an important part of preventing ransomware attacks. This includes all network security devices connected to the computer network. This strategy may also include creating a patch management program, which helps reduce endpoint vulnerabilities.
Companies at risk of losing all their data will most likely meet a ransomware attack’s demands. Limiting data loss through routine scheduled offline backups can help avoid the loss of important information if you are the victim of a ransomware attack. Migrating data to the cloud, for example, can help you gain access to your information in the event of a security breach.
Careful migration of data to the cloud can also help you protect your confidential data. GSI or other cloud consultants can help reduce your risk of an expensive ransomware attack.
Ransomware is constantly evolving, but so is technology security. However, you may not be properly protected unless you complete frequent updates of your systems. Ransomware hackers typically target larger companies that may have outdated systems because these are the easiest to breach. A dedicated IT team can ensure you’re completing all necessary updates and have the latest version of the most important firewalls and antivirus software.
Even the most secure systems can still become the victim of a ransomware attack. The best way to overcome a ransomware attack is to restore your information from a backup. As soon as you identify a potential ransomware attack, it’s also a good idea to disconnect all systems from the Wi-Fi and turn off the network, if possible. This may prevent further damage if the attack is currently in progress. It’s important to note that paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee a full return of your information. There’s nothing stopping a ransomware attacker from taking your money and keeping your data too.
Ransomware attacks hold personal and business data hostage. You can reduce your risk of becoming the victim of a ransomware attack or another cybersecurity incident by backing up your data frequently and implementing specific security protocols.