How to Protect your Business from Ransomware

How to Protect your Business from Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that locks down important files in a computer or network, making them inaccessible until a ransom payment is made. However, how is this type of cyber attack carried out, and what can you do to keep your organization safe from ransomware?

In this blog, our experts will explain how to protect your business from ransomware and go through a step-by-step explanation of what goes into these attacks.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a malware designed to capture information by locking data and files via encryption. Once obtained, hackers will extort their target by refusing to release data until they are paid a predetermined amount of money. With the largest payout to date at $40 million, the ransom is rarely cheap. The U.S. Government reported about 4,000 ransomware attacks daily, predicting that the frequency will continue to trend upward in 2023.

Stage 1: Reconnaissance

Hackers will take inventory of your organization’s IT infrastructure and security. They look for vulnerable accesses and entry points to your systems by scanning your organization’s network and ports.

What you can do.

In order to recognize when a hacker is targeting your organization at this stage, an IT department or specialist needs to be able to detect when scans are performed on your network. To install software that can do this, contact a local MSP or your IT department.

Stage 2: Weaponization

At this second stage, hackers will adjust the code of the ransomware so that it won’t be able to be traced or detected by networks and/or file-based security measures. For example, hackers can adjust the payload to make it look like a simple, unassuming word document.

What you can do.

The best way to evade this step is to be proactive. Always update software when new security patches and updates become available. Also, install software that can identify high-risk devices and outdated operating systems. For this step, the best way to avoid being a victim is to be proactive.

Step 3: Delivery

At this stage, the hacker loads the ransomware into your organization’s system, and they can do this in various ways. The most common way is via email. Phishing has long been a favorite for delivering viruses for hackers as infected attachments or directing the user to a malicious website. Other ways include plugging in a compromised USB or gaining access from employee credentials via social engineering.

What you can do.

There are a variety of techniques to combat an attack at this stage. Microsegmentation (quarantining the small section of a compromised device), change management, and application whitelisting are just a few. The appropriate action depends on the specific attack.

Stage 4: Exploitation

During this stage, the ransomware infects the victim’s device. There are two ways this is done. If a specific vulnerability is known, the hacker will launch a targeted exploitation. If it isn’t known, they will launch an exploit kit. This is a sort of toolbox hackers use to attack common vulnerabilities in a system so they can distribute the ransomware.

What you can do.

Enable continuous network monitoring so your IT team will be notified in the event of suspicious or irregular activity. In addition, the best offense is a good defense. Ensure your network is as secure as possible by allowing security patching, multi-factor authentication, and strong passwords.

Stage 5: Installation

If hackers reach this step without interference, the virus will distribute itself among the network. It will target files as well as any backups. Sometimes, the virus will require external communication to begin this process, but some can operate entirely independently.

What you can do.

Ensure your IT team is monitoring these external communications. It could alert your team that something questionable is going on.

Stage 6: Ransom

Once the ransomware is installed, encryption of your files and documents begins. At this point, they control the situation and can demand payment in exchange for releasing your files.

What you can do.

Attackers are under no obligation to return your data, so we recommend against paying any ransom. As soon as you have received a ransom. contact your local FBI office and IT team immediately.

The bottom line.

Staying safe from ransomware requires staying vigilant and taking proactive steps to protect your computer and network. By following these best practices and staying informed about emerging threats, you can keep your digital life and data secure.

If you aren’t sure if your organization is as locked down and secure as possible, our experts would love to help. Give us a call now to Do A 180: 856.282.1131

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