How to Avoid Ransomware Attacks

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Ransomware is a type of malware (a combination of the words ‘malicious’ and ‘software’) that, once embedded within a computer, can spread throughout a network and encrypt the data. This means that you lose all access to your data and the attacker will charge a ransom payment to ostensibly give you the data back. However, there is no promise that you will receive your data back once you pay the cybercriminal. In this comprehensive post, we’ll be detailing eight ways you can protect your PC from ransomware attacks, how to detect ransomware on a network, and steps to take if you have been a victim of this malicious cyberattack.

How to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks

Protecting your organisation’s data from ransomware attacks means having policies in place that make it difficult for the attacker to infect your network, and by having backups of documents that the attacker cannot access, leaving the ransom they will charge redundant. As technology gets more advanced, so do cybercriminals and their techniques; it’s essential that your business understands the importance of cybersecurity. Implement these eight steps on how to prevent ransomware on your server throughout your organisation:
  1. Regularly back up your data. Being confident that all your data is backed up will alleviate the consequences of data loss if you are a victim.
  2. Check your backups often, so that there are no nasty surprises if you do need to access your backups.
  3. Ensure that devices containing your backups (such as an external hard drive) are not always connected to your network, as attackers will try and target these back-up devices if they can.
Top tip: make copies of important documents across multiple backup options. Many cyber security businesses recommend the 3-2-1 method – three copies of your data, stored in two different locations with at least one copy kept off-site.
  1. Limit the likelihood that malicious software will reach your device by filtering content. For example, ensure that devices within your organisation only allow files that you would expect to receive and block access to websites that could be malicious. Make sure that all your team have regular cyber security training so that they can spot this content also.
  2. Employ measures to prevent lateral movement of malware. This means that if an attack were to happen within your business, it would be difficult for the attacker to expand their reach across your network.
  3. Centrally manage your organisation’s devices to only allow trusted applications to run.
  4. Always keep devices up to date with security updates and the latest software versions.
  5. Finally, protect your organisation from a ransomware incident by developing a response plan. This ensures that if your business were to be a victim, the team would know the steps to take to regain lost data.
Top tip: we recommend investing in adequate cyber security insurance so that you have peace of mind financially if an attack were to be perpetrated within your organisation.

How to Detect Ransomware on Your Network

Ransomware attacks are tricky to detect within your organisation, especially identifying them quickly enough to mitigate the damage. You will most likely know you have been a victim of a ransomware attack when your organisation’s data has been encrypted and you no longer have access to it. Shortly after, the attacker will make themselves known by alerting you to their ransom payment.

What Can You Do if Your Business is a Victim of Ransomware Attacks?

Recovering from ransomware can be a frustrating and difficult time, especially if the loss of data has been detrimental to your organisation. However, there are steps your team can take to, hopefully, retrieve your data from backup locations.
  1. Contain the malware infection by immediately disconnecting the targeted devices.
  2. Change of all your organisation’s sensitive information such as passwords.
  3. Wipe your targeted devices, safe in the knowledge that you have the backups stored.
  4. Connect the devices to a clean network.
  5. Ensure that the backup files you have created have not been infected also, and restore the data from your backup locations.
  6. After a ransomware attack, the government asks that you report your cyber security incident so that they can investigate.
We hope that this post has answered your questions and worries on how to avoid ransomware attacks. Fundamentally, the best way to protect your organisation is to invest in a robust backup system, and if you would like to discuss cyber security further, please contact our team and we will be happy to help.

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