Skills to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

Knowing how to protect systems against ransomware is crucial for any cybersecurity team since attacks can have far-reaching consequences.

If you want to safeguard your company from ransomware, you need to have strong command on different aspects of cybersecurity. Keep reading to learn how to protect your business against ransomware and institute a company-wide awareness campaign to prevent further intrusion attempts.

What Exactly is Ransomware?

Ransomware refers to a class of malicious software that encrypts or locks the victim's data to demand a ransom from the victim. Next, the attackers require payment for a private key that can help to decode the data. The first step in a ransomware attack, like any other kind of malware, is the introduction of a malicious payload to the target machine.

  • A download or link that is contaminated.

  • One that promotes a website hosting an exploit kit.

  • An infection that takes advantage of a security hole.

  • It was a quick download while driving.

  • A device that is infected with malware.

A phishing email is usually an initial step in a ransomware assault. Social engineering is often used in email to get the receiver to take action, such as visiting a link or downloading an attachment. If the user is fooled, the system will have viruses easily.

Once it infiltrates a network, malware propagates to other computers across the network to steal sensitive information. A ransom note demanding cryptocurrency payment in return for the decryption key is sent to the victim if the application chooses to encrypt the data. The assailants will strike if the key isn't destroyed or the knowledge isn't kept secret.

Prevent Ransomware Attacks

No matter how large or small, every business has to be aware of how to protect itself from the ransomware threat. The best practices for protecting your company's ransomware are outlined here.

Install a Firewall

The first line of software security against ransomware is a firewall. Because of firewalls, the security team can check incoming and outgoing traffic for threats and look for indicators of malicious payloads.

Think about doing the following to back up your firewall's operations:

  • Intentional labeling of tasks in progress.

  • Detecting and eliminating potential dangers.

  • Continuous monitoring of traffic for really essential data, programs, or services.

Your firewall should be able to do deep packet inspection (DPI) to analyze the data. With this feature, malicious code in packages may be detected mechanically.

Use Backups

Like regular data backups, immutable copies cannot be altered or overwritten. This backup is the best defense against unintentional or intentional data loss. To avoid losing data in a ransomware attack, keep a copy of your files in a format that cannot be altered.

  • You are not obligated to pay the ransom to get your data returned.

  • Any disruption to your company will be short.

  • Even if hackers gain access to the secondary storage, they cannot decrypt the data.

Multiple daily backups are recommended, in accordance with the usage. If a ransomware attacks, it is recommended to restore from the most recent clean backup you have made.

Remember that losing sensitive client information to thieves is still a problem, even if you restore the data. Do not rely only on an immutable backup; hackers can sell or leak the information.

Network Segmentation

Ransomware, once installed, spreads throughout the network to encrypt the desired files. By dividing the network into smaller, more manageable pieces, you can stop hackers from quickly going from one system to the next. Be sure that every network component has the following:

  • Separate safety mechanisms.

  • Access controls that are both distinctive and stringent.

  • It has its gateway and firewall.

Segmentation ensures that even if hackers access a portion of your network, they cannot access sensitive information. Because intruders take time to break into each section, the security team has more time to recognize and remove the problem.

Raise Awareness Within the Company

Workers are the most significant potential entry point for ransomware. Ensure your personnel receives consistent security awareness training that teaches them how they can help avoid ransomware.

  • Learn to spot the tell-tale indications of a phishing email.

  • Keep your computer and software from harm when you download and set up new programs.

  • Learn to spot malicious downloads and web URLs.

  • Keep track of their qualifications.

  • Pick secure passphrases.

  • Remember to update their software.

  • Validate the safety of the program and the website.

Staff training should teach cybersecurity best practices and emphasize suspicious reporting behavior if something seems odd.

Perform Frequent Security Checks

It is possible to test the robustness of a system by doing a vulnerability assessment. These checks look for vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure, such as:

  • System misconfigurations.

  • Issues in staff behavior.

  • Weaknesses that allow the setup of backdoor programs.

  • Flaws in account privileges.

  • Problems with authentication mechanisms.

  • Unpatched firewalls, apps, and OSs.

  • Weak passwords.

  • Database errors that allow SQL injections.

A full-fledged pen test can provide a more accurate assessment. Penetration testing is a simulation of efforts to get into a system. Thus, periodically simulating ransomware is an excellent way to assess how effectively your network and employees can handle this attack.

Whitelist Applications

Blacklisting and whitelisting are two typical approaches for regulating what software staff may install on their devices:

Preventing specific programs from being installed is known as "blacklisting." Whitelisting stops all other programs from being installed and only lets a small number of programs run.

Whitelisting is a more effective mean of stopping ransomware, while blacklisting is beneficial only in certain situations. Employee PCs can be protected against malware using a "whitelist" of approved software. Sites can be added to a "whitelist" and controlled more securely.

The Creation of a Sandbox

Sandboxes are virtual machines that may launch code and access data of the host computer or network independently. While often an element of software testing, a sandbox may assist cybersecurity teams in evaluating potentially harmful software.

Sandbox malware detection safeguards against all forms of cyberattacks, including ransomware.

Implement Strict Password Policies

Everyone in staff has to understand why secure passwords are so crucial. Unfortunately, ordinary password habits leave a lot of space for improvement:

Three-quarters of users reuse passwords across several sites.

One-third of all Internet users use a very insecure password, such as abc123 or 123456.

Keep in mind that the initial stage of many ransomware attacks involves taking advantage of careless actions on the part of employees. Please make sure everyone in your organization has complex passwords that they change frequently. Brute-force attacks can easily compromise your system if you don't take precautions.

Additionally, think about implementing multifactor authentication, which calls for users and workers to authenticate their identities in several ways before gaining access to a system.