A quick introduction to Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are initiated through emails or dubious download links. They then take control over your computer and data, holding it hostage along with other devices if your device is connected to an internal business network. Finally, it sends a message: pay up or lose everything. Managing a ransomware attack is a difficult process that requires considerable resources but in this resource guide, we’ll cover a few steps to prevent such a hack, respond to one and recover your data if you’ve already been attacked.

Mitigation techniques

Prevention

Ransomware is becoming progressively common, and experiencing an attack can happen at any time, but there are a few things you can do to prevent it and prepare for when it occurs.

Back up your data, as one of the biggest damage sources a ransomware attack brings is data loss. With a solid, secure, inexpensive, and flexible backup recovery plan, these losses become negligible. For your recovery plan to be successful, make sure to enforce the necessary infrastructure protection layers, oversee your data via only one interface, and test it regularly to check whether it’s still effective or needs some more work.

Next, create an equipment log. Include all your IT assets and devices, along with their values, as it will help you quickly analyze which equipment is corrupted and what your potential losses are. Lastly, partner with a managed security provider and use privacy apps.

Lastly, you could opt to hire a professional hacker to test the strength of your network and identify any other problem areas that may need to be addressed. Don’t know where to start? Freelance job boards are the perfect place to go when you need to find a qualified hacker for a short-term project. You’ll be able to choose a candidate based on their rate and reviews without having to qualify them yourself.

Secure Remote Access Tools

Ransomware threat attackers usually gain initial access to a network through poorly secured remote access tools and services. Therefore, ensure that no Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) ports are disclosed to the internet. Also, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to any remote access services and force account lockouts after a certain number of failed login attempts.

Cyber Insurance

You could also elect to get cyber insurance to protect yourself and your company from potentially devastating losses linked to ransomware. Besides the financial peace of mind cyber insurance offers, your carrier will be your first point of contact if your business will be attacked by ransomware. Your cyber insurance carrier can show you the appropriate resources and experts to help you in responding to an attack. Make sure you get cyber insurance coverage, or else the incredibly high costs associated with a ransomware attack may quickly make the coverage not feel like cyber insurance coverage at all.

Managing a ransomware attack

Contain the Malware

The first few moments after a ransomware attack are vital. How quickly you respond will determine the extent of the damage from a financial and IT point of view - this is why the first step is to minimize the spread of the attack. Malware usually spreads by infecting one computer, expanding across wireless networks, interconnected hardware, and any connection they can find. The best way to contain the spread during a ransomware attack is to set up a quarantine - determine which devices are infected and isolate them by disconnecting them from the network. Time is imperative when it comes to this step - the quicker you act, the better your chances of preventing the spread through the whole network.

Assess the Threat

With containment handled, it’s time to assess which kind of ransomware you’re dealing with. Your company’s ability to fight this kind of attack will depend on IT staff and the nature of the ransomware attack - this is why you’ll need to check your current protocols on data backups and recovery. This will help your team determine the kind of ransomware attack you’re faced with and if they can defend it. If you believe you’ll break the encryption and are comfortable with the chances, preventing giving out the ransom is usually the best option.

In a (Safe) Nutshell

While adopting these steps cannot prevent a ransomware attack entirely, doing so will reduce the probability of an attack. It will also help reducing its impact - should one occur - and recovering your lost data.

*guest article by Chelsea Lamb