Ransomware is a form of malicious software that denies the end-user access to their system or data requiring payment of “ransom” to gain access back to the system or data. More sophisticated cybercriminals can breach a network and place this type of software in the system. However, ransomware is typically spread through phishing emails or by clicking on links that lead to infected websites.

The effects of Ransomware are far-reaching. Ransomware denies users access to the critical information needed to run their business AND then makes them pay to get that information back (paying the ransom is no guarantee that you will even recover the lost data). In addition to the ransom, your company will suffer a loss of revenue, loss of trust from your consumers, and an overall devastating hit to your company’s reputation.

The occurrence of Ransomware attacks is on the rise nationwide, with not only large businesses being the target. In the past few years, there has been an increase in Ransomware attacks on small business and government entities. We all remember what happened in Atlanta.

CISA recommends taking the following precautions to protect against the threat of ransomware:

  • Update software and operating systems with the latest patches. Outdated applications and operating systems are more vulnerable to attacks. (THIS INCLUDES UPDATING ALL WINDOWS 7 MACHINES TO WINDOWS 10)
  • Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Back up data regularly. Keep it on a separate device and store it offline.
  • Follow safe practices when browsing the Internet.
  • Restrict users’ permissions to install and run software applications and apply the principle of “least privilege” to all systems and services. Restricting these privileges may prevent malware from running or limit its capability to spread through a network.
  • Use application whitelisting to allow only approved programs to run on a network.
  • Enable durable spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching the end-users, and authenticate inbound email to prevent email spoofing.
  • Scan all incoming and outgoing emails to detect threats, and filter executable files from reaching end users.
  • Configure firewalls to block access to known malicious IP addresses.

 

The use of an MSP like Technology Process Management can help ensure that these guidelines are followed and that your organization doesn’t fall prey to Ransomware.

Want more information or have questions?

For more effective practices regarding fraud prevention, give us a call at 270.527.3293 or visit our website www.tpmbyunitedsystems.com.

For more information on ransomware and cybersecurity, visit www.cisa.gov.