12 Jun

Five ways to Combat Ransomware

A few weeks ago the WannaCry ransomware attack caught many off guard, rapidly spreading through weaknesses in computer systems. Although this ransomware attack was incredibly malicious, it still pales in comparison to the damage that a similar, more targeted, all-out attack would undoubtedly cause. Fortunately, this damage can be mitigated as long as you put a few concepts into practice. A little preparation goes a long way in all aspects of our lives and cyber security is no exception. While the threat of malicious code and computer viruses may be greater than in previous decades, virus attacks are still preventable.

Full and Frequent Backups

Full and frequent backups are the most important defensive measure you can use. Since defense is the only offence in this situation, backups are your most important resource when it comes to keeping your business and its data secure. Additionally, ensuring that you use full encryption when sending or receiving any information is crucial. If a specific web page or FTP connection, for example, is not encrypted you should never send confidential or private information. Secure channels are always your best bet and you should settle for nothing less. Both onsite and offsite backups are highly recommended, as offsite backups with a professional data storage centre are the best guarantee that you will be able to bounce back from any attack with nothing to worry about. They take security seriously and work around the clock to ensure their methods are cutting edge.

Frequent Updates and Sweeps

Malware, adware, and other malicious programs could be lurking in the shadows right now. Without frequent checks for these troublemakers, unknown third parties could easily gain access to your information and eventually bypass your security measures. First and foremost, you should always keep your virus definitions up to date. Updating these on a weekly basis is recommended for obvious reasons, while real-time updates and protection should be a further cornerstone of your cyber defense. Subsequently, frequent virus and malware sweeps go hand in hand with regular backups. The two should be done on the same schedule for the maximum effect. It should be noted that scans should always be completed before any backups to ensure that no malicious code is accidentally included. Offsite backup centres are security-conscious and will neutralize these threats, but it’s always worth making sure.

Browser Security

Browsers are another way that hackers penetrate crucial systems. JavaScript exploitation and SQL injection attacks are common. If you don’t pay enough attention your Internet usage can leave you vulnerable. Blocking pop-ups and JavaScript is an important-first step, as is setting your security settings to ‘high’. These setting can make things somewhat uncomfortable, but there are always legitimate workarounds that do not leave you open to attacks. Furthermore, if the computer in question is assigned as a work computer you won’t, in almost any case, not need this functionality anyway. Likewise, browser use should be restricted on all workstations and work-related devices, with strict guidelines concerning usage. Social platforms and all other personal sites should be blocked at all times, with attempts to bypass any proxy servers logged and reviewed. Your employees can make a huge difference when it comes to your vulnerability. If they are not properly trained in these methods or fail to follow any necessary guidelines, the results could be disastrous.

Email Awareness

Finally, email awareness is important and should not be overlooked. The recent phishing attack posing as a Google Docs shared link just goes to show how easy it is to catch us off guard. All the aforementioned advice is still relevant when it comes to email attacks, but a little extra vigilance is needed at times. Mail from a close friend or relative can be an attack and oftentimes we realize only after it is almost too late. Being attentive to this and screening all incoming and outgoing mail for abnormalities should be routine within your company, especially with portable devices containing just as many back doors as your computers do.

Teaming Up for an Effective and Collective Defense

There is still very little known about the WannaCry virus or how to decode the files that it locks down. Experts worldwide are working around the clock to find out how to regain critical data and files from the thousands of affected computers, with very little progress so far. With sophisticated attacks like this proving themselves as an effective tool for causing global chaos, you owe it to yourself and everyone around you to learn as much as you can about these attacks and how you can protect your business from ransomware. The more we all collectively know, the sooner we can effectively combat these threats. Until then, ensuring you don’t become a target should be a priority. With professional storage and backup, you can regain control and ensure that you’re completely covered.

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