A red lock surrounded by binary.

Waging War on Ransomware

When you go to war, you want to win. That’s kind of the point, right? Monopolizing resources, spending money, and sending citizens into battle is ridiculous unless victory is your ultimate goal.

Similarly, when you have sensitive business data, your goal is to protect it against cybercriminals. Not hand it out freely like candy on Halloween.   

A common cyberthreat that demands preparation in your mission of protection is ransomware. Essentially, this malware attacks by taking over a user’s computer, locking them out, and encrypts (or scrambles) their files. Until a sum of money is paid, that is.

There’s a ransomware attack on a business once every 40 seconds. That’s 788,400 businesses ransomware affected per year. Fact is, not enough businesses have the cybersecurity measures needed to prevent ransomware attacks. Hackers bet on this and create realistic-looking emails that people are likely to click without thinking twice. For instance, this email looks like it came from an office copier. Instead, it came from Necurs (a large email spam botnet) and contained a form of ransomware called Scarab.

Had the networks of the unlucky users who downloaded this ransomware been properly protected, they could have avoided the malware entirely. That’s why it’s important to prepare your defenses for these sneaky and opportunistic attacks. Here’s how.

Bolster Your Defenses

Use the intelligence you have wisely. In the film Dunkirk, the Germans (the enemy) dropped flyers from the sky letting the soldiers on the shore of Dunkirk know they were poised for attack. Instead of being overwhelmed by the surprise threat, the Allied soldiers leapt into action. They attempted to speed up their evacuation plan and found creative ways to take cover in spite of the impending ambush.

While a ransomware attack might not be imminent, it’s important to prepare like it is. The strongest defensive software will block malicious websites, emails, and files from entering your network. It can also alert you when potential threats arise, helping you avoid a costly attack.

Act on the Intelligence

To keep hackers from getting access to your network, you need to keep your software and applications up-to-date as the vendors adjust to the evolving threat environment. As the Soviets and Brits use information obtained by their respective installed spies to their advantage throughout Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, you should use software update notifications to yours, to cover all the vulnerabilities you may not even know about yet.

Read the signs and act on your intelligence. When you get an alert you need to perform an update, do it. Don’t brush it off. Or turn on automatic updates so you never miss them. Sure, it’s a hassle to restart your computer so the OS can update. But you run the risk of a hacker entering your network through an unpatched hole if you don’t.

Use Your Backup

As the movie Benghazi depicts, going without backup for too long has disastrous consequences. Thankfully, losing your business data to a ransomware attack won’t lead to human fatalities. But losing sensitive business data can lead to reputational damage, downtime, and potential compliance fines – all potentially fatal to your business goals.  

A good strategy for data backup is the 3-2-1 rule. Have three copies of your data, in two different formats, with one stored off-site. These backups should be a combination of physical and cloud. That way, if something happens to your data, it’s not lost forever.

Fight Ransomware, Today

To protect your sensitive business data, reputation, and remain productive, we highly recommend that you take extra precautions to secure your network against aggressive, evolving threats like ransomware. If you need the help of an expert to be sure, please call one. Don’t become a casualty of cybercrime. Make strengthening your network security a top priority.