Ransomware Requires Preventative Measures
By: Todd Smekens
BLOG – According to CNN, the aptly named WannaCry ransomware attack is on track to be one of the largest recorded cyber attacks of all time. Reports indicate that at least 300,000 machines have been infected, with cyber criminals asking, on average, $300 per ransom request. Experts are warning businesses to be prepared for an increase in ransomware demands and to stay proactive about protecting their files.
To date, the only real tactic against attacks like WannaCry is prevention. And as ransomware becomes more sophisticated and aggressive, it’s only a matter of time before it finds your business. Here’s how to protect your business from ransomware and keep your files safe.
Use Encrypted, Cloud-Based Storage
To cut ransomware worms off at the source, start by purchasing new or restoring any previously-encrypted cloud-based storage. Services like Mozy offer military-grade security to protect your files. Here’s how it works: The technology syncs with your devices to automatically update and can be restored either online or by requesting DVDs shipped to your office.
If your devices are infected, you can still restore them to their factory defaults and work with your IT team to ensure the virus is gone. Next, restore your files from Mozy, and get back up and running either on a new device or your virus-free computer.
Update Your Software
WannaCry exploits a vulnerability in Windows PCs that hackers were previously thought to have acquired from the NSA. To thwart future attacks, Microsoft immediately released patches to help combat the ransomware and encourages all users to routinely update their software. In fact, you might want to let your computer and devices automatically download any software updates to ensure they’re the most up to date. Your antivirus software should also be up to date and regularly scan your devices.
Train Your Staff
It’s not enough to just warn your staff that a ransomware worm is going around the office. After quelling the situation, make sure to run simulations and train employees on what to look for in phishing schemes and ransomware attacks. Walk through how to recognize phishing emails that try to collect sensitive information and data as well as avoid clicking suspicious looking links.
It’s also a good time to revisit who has access to what data. Shut off employee access if there’s no reason for a department to have access to various servers, networks, and sensitive data. Keeping your business data safe and segmented can help keep any potential ransomware from spreading like wildfire.
Ransomware attacks will only become more frequent and damaging until businesses cut off cyber criminal activity at the source. We may not need a complicated key or solution to fight ransomware. Instead, use simple but aggressive preventative measures to keep your devices safe from intrusion — and force cyber criminals to move on.