7 Best Practices To Keep Your Devices Protected From Ransomware

October 12, 2020

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware Hackers use to infect computers and threaten to publish data or block access to it until ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called crypto viral extortion, in which it encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them

After the initial infection, ransomware will attempt to spread to connected systems, including shared storage drives and other accessible computers.

If the threat actor’s ransom demands are not met the files or encrypted data will usually remain encrypted and unavailable to the victim. Even after a ransom has been paid to unlock encrypted files, threat actors will sometimes demand additional payments, delete a victim’s data, refuse to decrypt the data, or decline to provide a working decryption key to restore the victim’s access. 

How can my computer get infected?

Most commonly Ransomware is delivered through phishing emails or “drive-by-download”. Phishing emails can be very difficult to identify as some hackers invest copious amounts of time into research before deploying their attack, making the emails look like they have been sent from a legitimate organization or someone known to the victim.  The email will entice the user to click on a malicious link or open a malicious attachment.  

A “drive-by download” is a program that is automatically downloaded from the internet without the user’s consent or often without their knowledge. 

How can I protect my Data, Network and prevent ransomware infections?

  1. Backup your devices on- and offsite It is vital to make frequent backups of your system and other important files. If your computer becomes infected with ransomware, you can simply restore your system to its previous state using your backups. To ensure the safety of your data you should always choose a solution that makes use of on- and offsite storage.
  2. Keep your personal information safe and use caution when opening emails and clicking on links – Never enter your personal information before checking a website’s legitimacy and security to ensure the information you submit is encrypted and only used for the described purpose. Before clicking on any links sent to you via email, always attempt to independently verify website addresses and the sender of the email (search for the organization online and take a close look at the spelling of the domain and the name of the sender). 
  3. Use and maintain preventive Software programs - Maintaining a strong firewall and keeping your security software up to date is critical. It’s important to use antivirus software from a reputable company because of all the fake software out there.
  4. Employ content scanning and filtering on your mail servers - All Inbound e-mails should be scanned for known threats and should block any attachment types that could pose a threat.
  5. Use a VPN network to access data remotely - When you connect to a network via a VPN, the data is kept secure and encrypted. In this way your information will stay out of sight for hackers.
  6. Train your employees - 65% of attacker groups used spear phishing as the primary infection vector (Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) 2019), meaning that one of the most important factors in keeping your systems safe is providing ongoing training and keeping your staff on top of the latest trends.
  7. Always update and patch all systems and software - Make sure that all systems and software are up to date with relevant patches. Exploit kits hosted on compromised websites are commonly used to spread malware. Regular patching of vulnerable software is necessary to help prevent infection.

Proactive action is your best defence against these malicious attacks. Our Team at Nortech is highly experienced and certified to handle all this and more as part of our Managed IT services.

Book a consultation with one of our Experts today and find out if your business is safe.

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