Businesses must implement multiple lines of defense to protect against ransomware. These strategies include an enforceable cybersecurity policy, education and training programs, strong password policies, network segmentation, and more.
Cybercriminals often exploit security vulnerabilities to infect your systems and steal valuable data. Then, they hold the data hostage and demand a ransom.
Invest in a Firewall
So, how to prevent ransomware attacks? Investing in a firewall is one of the best ways to prevent ransomware attacks. This is because it will block attacks from entering the network and help prevent them from spreading within the network. It will also help to keep unauthorized users out of sensitive areas. Additionally, it will protect against phishing attacks, which are standard methods for cybercriminals to steal login credentials.
Additionally, it is essential to update software and systems regularly. This will close security gaps that threat actors are constantly looking to exploit. A zero-trust architecture is also necessary, ensuring all access is verified and authenticated.
Another way to prevent ransomware attacks is to provide cybersecurity awareness training to employees. This will help educate employees on identifying phishing emails and safe browsing habits. Additionally, it will teach them how to report suspicious behavior so that it can be quickly investigated and stopped.
Finally, it is essential to back up data regularly. This will help prevent the need to pay a ransom and provide a means of recovering data in case of a disaster. Following the 3-2-1 backup rule is recommended, which involves having three redundant copies of data stored outside of your online datasets. It is also essential to test backups regularly to ensure they are working correctly.
Minimize the Attack Surface
Attackers have a variety of methods to infect a company’s systems, including phishing attacks, direct system infection, and remote desktop protocol (RDP) attacks. In many cases, these attacks require threat actors to gain access to the enterprise network by stealing or guessing the login credentials of authorized users. Once the hackers have accessed the web, they can download ransomware and run it on the computers in the targeted system.
The attack surface can be minimized by implementing a firewall that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic for known threats and malware. The firewall should also be configured to prevent users from connecting non-compliant endpoints to critical network resources. Additionally, it is essential to block dangerous file types and apply security policies aligned with risk tolerance.
Disabling command-line capabilities and blocking Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) port 445 can reduce the attacker’s ability to exploit internal unsecured vulnerabilities. Similarly, installing and updating firmware and anti-malware applications on all machines can help improve the defense against new ransomware variants that existing protection solutions may not have detected.
Training employees on spotting potential phishing and other social engineering attacks is essential, too. This includes teaching them not to open attachments or click on links that they don’t recognize as legitimate. It is also vital to back up all data regularly and ensure that backup files are adequately protected.
Create a Backup Plan
Before 2019, reliable backups and a solid disaster recovery plan could get most organizations through ransomware attacks. The recovery process might take a while, but it would allow them to restore most or all of their data. In those cases, paying the ransomware actor might only make sense if they were desperate for their data.
However, ensuring that your backups can survive a ransomware attack is more important than ever. That means making sure that you perform frequent full backups, and ideally, every day so you can catch as many changes to your files as possible.
Additionally, it is essential to keep your backups separated by type. This will prevent a single ransomware infection from poisoning all of your backups. You can do this by having different people responsible for every backup. For example, database administrators back up only their databases to a separate site or cloud account.
You can also reduce your risk by keeping your backups air-gapped, which means they are offline and inaccessible without a network connection. This will prevent cyber criminals from sabotaging your backups by infecting them with ransomware or other malware, negating your ability to recover from an attack. This requires careful thought and planning, but it is an essential way to protect your backups against ransomware.
Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
If you don’t have a robust recovery solution, it’s only a matter of time before ransomware attacks target your business. The damage from a cyber attack can be extensive, including costly mitigation and recovery, sensitive data loss, reputational damage, and legal consequences.
Developing an effective disaster recovery plan is the most critical defense against ransomware. It should include detailed response actions, responsibilities for team members, and a step-by-step approach. In addition, it should provide visibility into the scope of the attack and enable instant recovery from immutable backups.
An effective DR plan must be easy to implement, test and help you identify and protect your most valuable assets from ransomware attacks. In addition, it should allow for rapid recovery to a clean state without compromising security. The best way to achieve these goals is with a unified backup and continuity solution that provides granular file-level recovery, instant access to data, and native immutability.
The first thing to do in a ransomware incident is to power down affected systems and devices. This will prevent the malware from spreading to other systems. Next, it’s essential to examine logs and additional information to identify the attacker and determine how they entered the network. Finally, it’s necessary to report the attack to authorities. This will help catch the perpetrators and provide valuable information about how to improve security practices and training in the future.