How To Safeguard Your Business Against Ransomware Attacks?
In earlier times our reliance and the growth on technology used to take years but nowadays technology is changing on an everyday basis & it’s adoption is inevitable for business growth. This technology adoption has increased the cyber risk exposure for organizations. Ransomware has evolved as one of the biggest threats associated with this risk exposure.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that blocks your access to the data on computer systems by encrypting it. Nowadays, the attackers exfiltrate this data out before encrypting it. This data remains encrypted unless the victim pays the ransom to the attacker & then the attacker dumps this data on the dark web, if their demand of ransom is not met within the agreed timeline.
At first, it might not appear a very crucial thing but in reality, just imagine losing all your data including details of clients and business in one go. You might not want to face this situation ever.
Following are some of the Information security controls which can be implemented to enhance the guard against ransomware:
1) Use Anti-Malware Protection
It is very important to use an enterprise level, anti-malware software with the latest virus definitions. The organization must enable the real-time scan feature of AV & run periodic (at least weekly) full scan on systems to detect & remediate any infection. If possible, rather than standard VA, organizations should opt for an advanced EDR solution, which offers deep visibility, comprehensive detection & effective remediation to modern day threats.
2) Effective Patch Management
It is necessary that you must maintain & update all security patches related to Operating system & third party software installed in your devices, as soon as they are made available by the manufacturer/OEM. Unpatched systems can increase the risk of compromise from malware.
3) Restrict administrative rights
Use standard user accounts on your endpoints by default. The excessive privileges enjoyed by an administrator account can help a malware or attacker to gain foothold on endpoint, perform lateral movement & create havoc across infra.
4) GPO restriction
GPO restrictions are a simple and inexpensive way to harden the systems & apply granular controls on system behaviour. Organizations can block activity like files running from the 'App data' directory or even deactivate the ability to run binaries from attachments etc.
5) App & Device Control
Organizations must not allow use of removable devices on endpoints, which can not only be used for data leakage but can also bring in malwares / ransomware. If possible, implement application control on endpoints so that only authorized applications can run on the systems.
6) Implement Security for Email & Web traffic
Email & Web traffic are two prominent sources of malware attacks. A secure email gateway & an advanced web proxy solution is vital to prevent threats reaching your employees via these channels.
7) Strong Authentication
Controls such as using complex passwords, enforcing a change of password at a defined frequency, and screening passwords against commonly used passwords or multi-factor authentication can help safeguard the infrastructure and prevent ransomware attacks. Where feasible, use MFA to prevent compromise of your accounts.
8) Keep Backup of Everything
Whatever controls and technology you implement but there is nothing called absolute security and backup is the last thing that helps in the worst-case scenario of recovery. As a best practice, to ensure the safety of your data, one should follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy. It simply states to keep 3 copies of data, which is production data, and 2 backup copies on two different media with one copy in off-site storage for recovery scenarios. Backup storage and mechanism must be configured in a way that it doesn't get affected by ransomware infected systems.
9) Strong Detection Mechanism
Organization must have strong detection capability so that initial activity of malware / attacker can get noticed well in advance, before it can cause any damage or spread its impact within the infra. Enable detailed logging across infra components & send them to the central SIEM solution for correlation & threat detection. Subscribing threat intel can also significantly improve the detection capabilities of an organization.
10) Security awareness
Employees play a key role in the security posture of an organization & can act as a first line of defence against any kind of attack. Employees must be made aware of organization security policies / procedures / controls & their expected behaviour. They must be trained to identify the modern days threats & react to the situations appropriately.
While all these things will act as a guard for an organization against the ransomware threat, it’s equally important to be ready to deal with the situation when need arises. Organizations must create a plan before crisis strikes. Drafting Incident Response procedure to deal with specific scenarios & a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery plan can be very helpful in this. Not just creating plans but the organization must test them periodically as well.
Above mentioned are some of the common ways to secure your business from ransomware attacks. There is much more to be done in order to have comprehensive security. Should you have any questions or want to understand how to implement the controls, we suggest you to get in touch with a cyber security expert to help you out with whatever you want for the security of your business.
You can contact our cybersecurity consultant if you are having any questions or want to start your security journey. We at Cybersec Knights understand how important your business is for you. Thus we offer complete cybersecurity solutions for our client’s business.