What is Ransomware and How it works?
Ransomware is a type of malware that threatens to publish the victim’s personal data or perpetually blocks access to it unless a ransom is paid. More advanced malware uses a technique called crypto viral extortion. It encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.
What are prevalent key entry points for Ransomware?
Ransomware can appear on your computer via phishing or spam emails containing attachments. These attachments or links in the content are where the ransomware lives. When the attachment is clicked, your computer is at risk of becoming infected with ransomware. Another way ransomware can infect your computer is through suspicious or compromised websites.
This malware overtakes the victim’s computer and encrypts the data which can only be decrypted by a key obtained from the hacker once payment is made.
A new security report has just been released from Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs 2021 Global Threat Landscape and revolves around the currently observed state of ransomware. According to the report, ransomware is increasingly being felt by more and more organizations:
- The weekly average number of ransomware attacks detected in June of 2021 was more than 149,000. A year prior, it was only 14,000 – an increase of 966%
- Over one-third of businesses in the Automotive, MSSP, Government, and Telecommunications industries and one-quarter of nearly all other sectors experienced ransomware attacks
- The report noted that “the key takeaway is that ransomware is a clear and present danger regardless of industry or size.”
What should be your approach for ransomware protection?
Ransomware attacks are dangerous for organizations and individuals as they are more targeted (phishing attempts) and usually go after the human factor as the potential weak link. Protecting ourselves is quite simple if we take a few precautions.
Here are some ransomware prevention tips:
- Data Backups:
Always keep a backup of all important data daily or at regular intervals. This ensures that whenever your data has been compromised as a result of ransomware, you can delete the entire data store and work with the backup. Paying the ransom to the hacker does not guarantee data restoration.
- Antivirus and Firewalls:
Your weakest link can also be unprotected/unpatched software, which could become a window for hackers to drop the malware. Install reputable anti-malware software and a firewall to ensure maximum security. Create a patch management policy where all systems are kept up to date with the latest software updates.
- Use Strong Passwords and Multifactor Authentication:
Use multiple layers of verification whenever possible to avoid unsolicited entry into your data network. Follow a strong password policy that is updated at regular intervals.
- Needs-Based Access (Policy of Least Privilege):
Limit access to sensitive information on a need-to-know basis and remove access of dormant or old employees from essential documents. One careless employee with access to sensitive information is enough to bring even the largest of organizations to its knees.
- Employee Training:
Make your employees aware of the risks associated with data recklessness and security breaches and arm them with the best measures to be taken in such situations. Security Awareness is the number one tool in the fight against cybercrime.
- Social & Surfing Policy:
Make sure that your company has strict policies around social sites and web surfing. Even legitimate websites can be infected with malware and will compromise an employee system creating a malware infestation on your network.
- Inform your Security Team of Suspicious Activities:
Keep an eye out for suspicious activity and immediately inform your local helpdesk and security team. Even what seems like a small issue could turn out to be something approaching a much larger scale. An early alert may equip the teams with the ability to respond quickly and slow a malware spread limiting damage till completely contained.
- Use Threat Detection:
Make sure to have an automated threat detection system in place to avoid the spread. Detection can be nine-tenths of the battle.
By following these simple steps, you are protecting your system and files and ensuring cybercriminals cannot count you as another successful attack statistic.
For any assistance to upgrade your contact center’s technology landscape, contact Etech’s technology division, Etech Technology Solutions. We provide robust & secured technology solutions, software analytics & implementation, software development, and AI solutions. Contact us today for a Free Consultation!