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How To Safeguard Your Business Against Ransomware: Part 1

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Ransomware-part1

Ransomware is a malicious type of software, also known as ‘malware.’ It locks (encrypts) a company’s data files then displays a ransom note demanding the user to pay a sum in exchange for their files to be freed. 

Since 2017, ransomware has been one of the most common news topics.

According to Statista / Global Cyber Security, there was a total of 304 million ransomware attacks worldwide in 2020. This is the highest on record since 2016 and has increased 62 percent when compared to 2019.

The WannaCry ransomware attack of May 2017 is still the largest known ransomware attack to date, affecting more than 230,000 computers and impacted 80 NHS organisations in at least 150 countries within a day! 

Read more: How did WannaCry Infect the Likes of the NHS?

In the UK, the NHS’ IT infrastructure was seized by ransomware, preventing doctors from accessing patients’ data. Similarly, car companies Nissan and Renault had to pause production in the UK after some of their systems were infected.

Even in 2021, it's said that The ransomware surge is ruining lives!

As a business, it’s natural to be nervous about ransomware. If ransomware infects your computer, it can seize hold of valuable company data. It can threaten to destroy it or even leak it to the world if you don’t pay the ransom. 

Nowadays, the total of a ransomware attack is heading towards £1.5m!

Ransomware can be the stuff of nightmares if you don’t know much about it or how to safeguard your company. So that’s why we’ve created this blog. 

Our blog is designed to shine a light on ransomware, providing tips on how you can improve your IT defence. Once you’ve read this blog, and How To Safeguard Your Business Against Ransomware: Part 2, you’ll be on the way to safeguarding your business against ransomware.

Defence One: Purchase Excellent Antivirus Software

When it comes to defending your network, it’s time to leave free and legacy Antivirus software behind, as it does not offer all the capabilities to detect sophisticated threats. Instead, it will be beneficial for your business to invest in next-generation anti-virus software.

There are many types of next-generation antivirus software on the market. However, it can be hard to choose which one is best for your organisation.

As long as your anti-virus software can provide the following, your business is one step closer to preventing a ransomware attack:

 

  • Trace all activity within the system using behavioural intelligence analysis
  • Provide real-time updates
  • Provide endpoint reporting
  • Offer web threat detection
  • Provide anti-virus enforcement & management

Read more on: Next Generation VS Traditional Anti-virus Software

 

Defence Two: Install Email Filtering Software to Block Suspicious Emails

Email filtering means ‘filtering out’ malicious or spam emails into ‘quarantine, preventing the receiver from giving up sensitive information. The emails will be held by the software unless you feel that the email is legitimate and can be released.

Teaching your staff about the risks of ransomware and what a phishing email looks like, will certainly increase your company’s protection.

Read more on: How To Spot A 'Phish'

However, implementing email filtering software can help doubly to ensure no malicious emails infect your systems via human error.

 

Defence Three: Install Web Filtering to Block ‘Dodgy’ Web Traffic

Once your staff knows how to spot suspicious emails arriving in their inbox, you need to be able to try and stop the impact of harmful web traffic. Having the infinite amount of information available on the web at your team’s disposal is great. But harmful data can be picked up when browsing seemingly safe websites.

Web filtering software uses tools and previous research to pre-check the data within a website to see if it is safe to use. If the data is harmful, it tries to clean it. If it cannot be cleaned, it blocks you from the website, so the data doesn’t enter your system.

This testing and filtering are done through a sandbox environment, without disrupting the user’s experience in the slightest or risking harm to the machine or operating system.

 

Defence 4: Have A Contingency Plan?

Like anything, it always best to have a plan in place, should the worst ever happen. In this case, it will be having a Disaster Recovery Plan and additional back-ups for your back-ups.

 As part of your Disaster Recovery, all your data will be backed up on the cloud or at an off-site server store to keep it out of reach from being destroyed or seized. So, if your computers are infected by ransomware, you’ll know all your data is safely stored elsewhere. 

Getting you back up and running swiftly means taking a daily backup of your entire system and keeping hold of it for 30 days. Then keeping a full save every quarter and every 12 months.

This backup technique means that if you recover the system from up to a month in the past, and it’s still infected, you can fall back to the last quarterly or yearly backup.

Having to access older data might sound like an annoyance and you might lose a few days or weeks’ worths of work - but the clean data will all still be there.

 

Discussion: Is Ransomware Going To Get Worse?

Cyberattacks and viruses are continuing to evolve. At the moment, ransomware works by quickly infecting your computer and seizing hold of whatever data it can grab. But some people believe ransomware is only going to become craftier and more sophisticated.

Experts predict that ransomware makers are learning how to slowly infect your entire systems, taking more and more data, without you noticing. They aim to stay hidden until they’ve encrypted data long enough into the past that even the backup of your backups is being held to ransom.

Ransomware will continue to change; the only way to defend against it is by having effective security and a disaster recovery plan in place that also evolves with the times.

  

Speak to an Expert

 

Implementing various defensive software and a disaster recovery solution will help better safeguard your valuable business data, while delivering reliable data and server protection.

Should you ever be hit by a ransomware attack, Silverbug will utilise our Data Backup & Disaster Recovery practise to isolate the threat, determine where it accessed your IT infrastructure and help you recover your data. Additionally, preventing your data from being held ransom against future ransomware and other types of cyberattacks.

Get advice from our IT consultants who have designed and implemented safeguarding and recovery systems for companies in the UK and worldwide. They are available to answer any questions you may have.

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