How Does Ransomware Work?
First, let’s go over the basics of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that typically locks down a system or device, with a pledge from a cybercriminal to release it in exchange for a ransom (usually a payment in cryptocurrency). For a ransomware attack to occur, a cybercriminal needs to have access to your systems; typically, this is gained by tricking a user into downloading a malicious file, or obtaining their login credentials with a phishing attack. However, there are many potential points of entry for a ransomware attacker—which is part of what makes it so threatening.
Fundamental Strategies for Ransomware Protection for Your Organization
These are some of the most important, fundamental ways to help your organization protect from ransomware attacks:
- Back up all your data. One of your most important responsibilities is backing up all your company’s data. If something goes wrong, you should be able to quickly and easily revert to a previous version of your system. This won’t actively protect you from being the target of an attack, but if you’re ever attacked, the fallout won’t be nearly as devastating. You may be able to completely avoid paying the ransom or suffering ill effects by restoring your systems back to a previous version; but to do this, you need to back up your data regularly, and keep that backed up data safe.
- Keep your software updated. Ransomware attackers sometimes find an entry point within your apps and software, noting vulnerabilities and capitalizing on them. Fortunately, some developers are actively searching for new vulnerabilities and patching them out. If you want to make use of these patches, you need to have a patch management strategy in place—and you need to make sure all your team members are constantly up-to-date with the latest versions.
- Utilize better threat detection. Most ransomware attacks can be detected and resolved before it’s too late. You need to have automated threat detection in place in your organization to maximize your chances of protection.
- Adopt multifactor authentication. Multifactor authentication forces your users to verify their identities in multiple ways before they’re granted access to a system. This way, if an employee mistakenly gives their password to a cybercriminal, the criminal still won’t be able to gain easy access to your systems.
- Issue bare minimum privileges. Your employees should never have more access to your data than they truly need. Segmenting your organization and restricting access can provide a kind of quarantining effect, minimizing the impact of a potential attack and limiting the vectors of access.
- Scan and monitor emails. Emails are a common choice of cybercriminals executing phishing schemes, so take the time to scan and monitor emails on an ongoing basis, and consider deploying an automated email security solution to block malicious emails from ever reaching users.
- Scan and monitor file activity. It’s also a good idea to scan and monitor file activity. You should be notified whenever there’s a suspicious file in play—before it becomes a threat.
- Improve employee training. Most ransomware attacks are the byproduct of bad employee habits, or pure ignorance. Someone may voluntarily give out their password, or may download an unfamiliar file to their work device. With better employee training, the chances of this happening are much lower.
- If you’re the subject of an attack, don’t pay the ransom. Finally, if you happen to be the victim of a ransomware attack, don’t pay the ransom. It might seem tempting to get out of this bad situation as quickly as possible, but even after paying the ransom, there’s no guarantee that the attacker is going to be true to their word.
Use Check Point’s Anti-Ransomware Solution
One of the best strategies you can employ is utilizing Check Point Software’s Anti-Ransomware solution. With it, you’ll gain access to one of the most sophisticated and comprehensive anti-ransomware solutions available. It includes active threat prevention, the capacity to detect and quarantine ransomware attacks, and of course, the ability to restore your files from routine backups. Sign up for a free demo today, and see it in action for yourself!