4 Tips to Prevent a Ransomware Attack

Ransomware is the latest threat affecting businesses, and even governments, today. Learn how to setup preventive measures to avoid falling victim to hackers.

Jayar

The nastiest thing you should be avoiding at all costs is in a type of malware that kidnaps your files and asks for an exorbitant amount of money so you could “gain back the access” to the files you lost. This infamous malware is called Ransomware and it continues to bring bad news around the world.

Just last June, following a worldwide WannaCrypt attack, GoldenEye ransomware infected several computers in Ukraine. This interrupted hundreds of business operations, and even global companies like Maersk, FedEx, and Merck were all likely to be affected as well. Microsoft’s report shows that the infection started through a tax accounting software, MEDoc. Hackers penetrated the software’s update system that enabled the ransomware installation in computers. MEDoc was also widely used in Ukrainian government computers so in essence, part of the government was also paralyzed by the said attack. Some believe that though it’s obviously a ransomware, it was not about the money– the root of the attack could be political. Meanwhile, CNBC reports that hackers have made something around $10,000 from the victims who paid the ransom a day after the attack.

Ransomware attacks are happening all around us at each turn of the globe. As netizens, we cannot be complacent about our security. Remember that prevention is always the number one step we can take to reduce the risks of an attack. Although there is no guarantee that we’ll be invulnerable because of constant innovations on the dark side, these preventive measures are still the best we can do with our current situation. Here are 3 tips we should practice to fend off ransomware attacks:

  1. Back up files often

Health IT Security writes, “Regular system backups and verification is the most effective approach in ransomware prevention and response, according to the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University.” With backups, we can be assured that we have our files intact in a different storage system. If an attack happens, we could not be worried about the “kidnapped files” because we have them in backup.

The Merkle suggests these steps in ensuring a backup system’s reliability.

  • If you use physical storage media to create backups, make sure they undergo a scan on being connected to the computer.
  • Immediately disconnect the storage devices once the backup is done.
  • Consider online cloud-powered data storage services that take regular backups and keep your data secure.
  • Consider buying two high capacity solid state devices for physical archiving of all enterprise data.
  1. Be careful with your emails

Emails have long been a top vehicle for viruses and malwares so it’s just right to put a prime importance on email security. As the old saying goes, “never open a file from a stranger”. But if our work requires us to correspond with non-acquaintances (who can become partners and allies) regularly, here are two of the best email practices we should follow according to Alexander Volynkin of the Software Engineering Institute:

  • Robust filtering – minimize spam that may contain malicious attachments
  • Blocking attachments – there must be a policy that executable files cannot be sent via email.
  1. Make use of a renowned anti-virus

Antivirus solution providers are frequently upgrading their tools to combat advanced malware and ransomware. The latest antivirus offerings from these providers ‘learn’ everyday to identify patterns in computing resource requests, code executions, etc., made by programs. This helps them to identify malware and ransomware that are not even captured in the regularly updated antivirus signature databases.

  1.  Employ training for your staff so they can be able to spot ransomware or any kind of malware and thus prevent it from getting launched into the system.

Hackers may have different reasons for their attacks but whatever they may be, the result will always be damaging. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim. Practice at least these four measures to prevent ransomware from damaging your files, your system, and your work.