Best Practices to Prevent Ransomware Attacks in 2023
Author: Paul Moronfola
Ransomware attacks are becoming popular globally, requiring businesses and individuals to work on protecting themselves and developing a Disaster Recovery plan. The ransomware attacks become further intense due to the rapid technological advancement and the security flaws that come with it. As a business owner or an individual, below are eight cybersecurity practices that can prevent ransomware attacks.
1. Keep All Systems And Software Updated
For businesses and individuals using onsite physical infrastructure, the chances of preventing ransomware attacks increase by keeping all systems, software, and web browsers up to date. This is important due to the evolving nature of ransomware, as hackers can rely on bugs in non-updated systems to bypass security features and infect a computer.
A popular example of ransomware attacks due to outdated systems and software is WannaCry. I 2017, the malicious software crippled the NHS hospitals, Telefonica, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) by targeting computers with outdated Windows. It affected 230,000 computers for four days.
2. Install an Antivirus and Upheld your Firewall
Antivirus software and a firewall are two weapons you can use to prevent a ransomware attack. An antivirus works internally (i.e., targeting malware already in the system), while the firewall prevents any external attack.
Choosing an antivirus must be a careful process, as only a few antiviruses can detect and respond to malicious software that can constitute a cyberattack. Also, configuring a firewall can help filter out and block suspicious files from entering the system.
3. Have a Network Segmentation
This is an important step for businesses whose workers implement a network system (local or remote). Implementing network segmentation in your IT strategy means dividing the organization’s network into smaller, isolated, yet connected networks. This limits the spread of the ransomware in the event of an attack.
Implementing a network segmentation strategy for businesses that rely on Salesforce to manage their customer data and workflows can help prevent ransomware attacks and protect critical data.
Each network should have its firewalls and security controls when implementing network segmentation. As a result, this will prevent the ransomware from reaching the target data. Furthermore, it will give your IT team time to identify, isolate, and resolve the attack.
4. Email Protection
Email phishing is one of the major ways businesses and individuals are exposed to ransomware attacks, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation listing it as a top crime in 2020. Infection can occur via downloading malware masquerading as reputable email attachments, clicking a link to an infected website, and social engineering. You can protect yourself by doing the following:
- Don’t open emails, files, and links from unknown sources
- Update all email apps
- Using Sender Policy Framework (SPF) that authenticates the specific mail servers from which the email is coming
- Using DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) which verifies the ingenuity of the email by providing an encryption key and digital signature
- Using Domain Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)
5. Application and Website Whitelisting
Application and website whitelisting will allow the system to determine the right application to be downloaded and websites to be visited on the system or network. Programs and websites not whitelisted will not be accessible, making downloading infected programs and visiting unsecured impossible. Aside from that, some whitelisting software can also blacklist some programs and websites.
6. Endpoint Security
Every device used for accessing an organization’s files and data is an endpoint with a potential opportunity for criminals to access a network. Consequently, businesses (especially growing businesses) need to prioritize endpoint security. This is achievable by installing the endpoint detection and response (EDR) or endpoint protection platforms (EPP) for all network users.
With both technologies, system administrators can monitor and manage security for each user with a remote device.
7. Limit User Access Privileges
Limiting the user access privilege will make it possible that only approved users can access essential data. As a result, you can prevent a ransomware attack from spreading between systems. You can also include a two-factor or multi-factor authentication to prevent access in case there is a security breach
8. Do a Security Awareness Training
Every end user and employer is a point of cyber-attack due to email phishing and social engineering. As a result, you should ensure proper security awareness training to prevent attacks. Basic security training practices you can embark on teaching employees and end users are:
- How to create strong passwords
- How to recognize suspicious emails or attachments
- How to maintain updated systems and software
- How to use VPNs
- Confidentiality training
- How to surf the web safely
9. Backup Your Data
Backing up your data does not prevent ransomware attacks, but it can be the perfect way to recover files. With a backup, you can wipe the computer clean and restore the backup files.
A recommended approach is the 3-2-1 rule, i.e., consistently backup files and keep three separate copies on two storage types with a copy offline. You can go further by keeping any copy on a very secure cloud storage server.
10. Switch to Cloud Computing
Switching to cloud computing involves accessing your business data and files on computer resources provided by a service provider from any internet-enabled device.
Aside from cloud computing being performance-focused, providers focus a lot on ensuring a high level of security on their platforms. As a result, the tendency of ransomware attacks is vehemently lower compared to an onsite or local network system. Also, switching to cloud computing is cost-effective as most services are subscription-based, allowing you to focus more on running your organization.
How Can V2 Cloud Help You
V2 Cloud is a virtual desktop solution suitable for businesses and provides computer resources via the internet using their PCs or tablets. It provides a secure environment for business owners, allowing them to work without fear of ransomware attacks.
V2 Cloud delivers a secure VDI environment and is cost-effective. V2 Cloud contains a lot of security features to prevent ransomware attacks : all-inclusive UFW firewall for every virtual machine, encrypted connection, and antivirus real-time protection. In addition, V2 Cloud offers daily snapshot backups up to 21 days to ensure data is immune against ransomware. Hence, you can focus more on your business. Are you looking for a secure cloud computing environment? Try V2 Cloud and enjoy an unbeatable experience.
Ransomware attacks can lead to the loss of files or extort money from businesses and individuals. As a result, businesses and individuals must work on protecting themselves using the right cybersecurity practices. This article gave eight cybersecurity practices to prevent ransomware attacks as a business or an individual.