How To Prepare For Ransomware

The Rise Of Ransomware

If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest cyber security news, you might not know that ransomware is a big deal these days. Gone are the good old days when malware and viruses were simply annoying or time-wasting. Now it’s big business, and ransomware pays the bills.
In the last 10 years the number of ransomware strains have exploded, and even foreign governments are leveraging the destructive power of ransomware in cyber-warfare.
Image credit: CERT-RO

How Does It Work?

Ransomware does what it sound like it would: it holds your files (or your company’s files) for ransom. It accomplishes this by searching for files on your machine and your network, then encrypting anything it finds. The only way to decrypt your files and get them back is to send a ransom in Bitcoin to an email address, then hope that the author responds. The odds of this happening are not very high, though.
Ransomware is being developed so rapidly that anti-virus and security companies are having trouble keeping up. It can infiltrate networks quickly through email, a malicious website, or bots gaining access to exposed machines.

How To Prepare

The best defense against ransomware is having up-to-date backups of your computers and servers. If the worst should happen then you’ll at least have a recent copy of every file you need and can get back to business quickly. This is the only guaranteed “prevention” method.
Here are some other items to pay attention to in order to make sure you’re ready in the event of an attack:
  • A frequent and current backup strategy (I can’t stress this enough)
  • Up-to-date Endpoint Security Software
  • Up-to-date Email Security/Spam Filtering
  • Make sure firewalls are only allowing necessary access to your network
  • A solid and secure password policy for your company and network
  • Network file type filtering, to prevent files from being saved with known ransomware file names or extensions
  • Using limited user accounts for PCs on your network
Ransomware is no fun, but it doesn’t have to be a threat to your business. Take the necessary precautions and make sure you’re prepared if it happens to you. If you’re not sure you’re prepared, give Incite IT a call and we’ll be glad to assist you with evaluating your protection.

Further Reading About Ransomware