What You Need To Do To Protect Yourself Or Your Business From A Ransomware Attack
Ransomware is malware that encrypts files in a system or device and renders the files or even the entire system unusable. The attackers will then demand a ransom to decrypt. Ransomware attacks have become very common, as they are highly profitable for the attackers and hence all businesses are at threat. Paying these ransoms encourages attackers to develop new and efficient ways of attacking.
To keep you and your business safe, you need to make prior and efficient preparations before you are the victim. Once the attackers have gained access to your system or device, you need to plan a way to force them back. A way to reduce the impact of an attack. Here are some of the things you need to do to repel a ransomware attack.
1). Buy Cyber Insurance and Understand its Terms of Service
There are high losses associated with cyber attacks, which can even lead to permanent business closure if not handled appropriately. Cyber liability insurance helps you pay for the services after an attack. It covers areas such as damage or loss of electronic data and reputation costs. Ensure to read and understand the cybersecurity insurance provider terms and conditions before subscribing to their plans.
Most cybersecurity policies have first party coverage, which includes the losses incurred by the business directly, and third party coverage, those incurred by business associates or clients of the attacked businesses. According to the cybersecurity provider or subscription you choose, this insurance also helps in paying for investigators, legal help and crisis communication.
2). Prepare Emergency Firewall and Content Filtering Profiles
After the cyberattack is already successful in your system, the first act should ensure the pushing out of the attackers and their restriction not to get a way back. A firewall works by protecting against attackers by shielding your system or network from unnecessary network traffic. These emergency firewalls will lock down internet traffic from all directions and use highly restricted content filtering profiles that will only allow traffic to go to the critical areas you decide as you sort the attack.
After the firewall has cut all other traffic off, it restricts the attacker from accessing more data, hence reducing the impact they cause. It also allows the business or organization to get back to some of its operations and reduce the losses brought by downtime.
3). Have a Data Recovery Plan
After an attack, a lot of critical data may get lost and never be recovered. You should have an offline external backup containing all the critical data of your business. Segregate this external source from the original data as much as possible to ensure it’s completely unreachable by the attacker. Remember, even after paying a ransom, you have no guarantee of retrieving all of your data.
Verify your backup repository credentials if your backup is available online, as any attacker will try to look for them. If the attacker gets to the repository, they encrypt them to ensure you cannot restore your data. In such a state, they leave you with only one option; pay the ransom. Ensure the credentials for these backups are unique and disconnected from any other authentication or single sign in system.
4). Don’t Pay the Ransom
If you cannot employ correct measures to recover from the attack and there is no way left to recover your data, you may consider paying the ransom. However, there are severe warnings you should be aware of with this option, even if you fully cooperate with the attacker and pay the ransom as demanded. There is no guarantee that the attackers will decrypt your files or restore your data fully. A ransomware research has shown that about 54% of victims don’t get their data back even after cooperating.
The remaining 46% who pay ransoms and get their data back find it corrupted and usually suffer another attack shortly after. Paying ransoms encourages hackers and even funds them to innovate better ways of malice. It also makes your business an easy target, as many hackers would also like to benefit from your ransom.
5). Invest in a Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program
Having employees equipped with cybersecurity knowledge will not only prevent attackers from reaching your network, but also help you push them away in case they have time to get in.
You will join hands with the entire group and take time to understand how the attack is being conducted. Note all the messages the attackers are sending in and what they are requesting. This will help you with clues about what type of ransomware your business is facing. It is obviously easier and faster when doing this with your employees. Try to identify the source of the attack as you communicate with the attackers, the widespread, what files the attacker has encrypted, and the compromised devices.
An extensive personal team ensures you contain the attack cheaply and in a short while, as everybody does their part to counter the attacker from all sides. To recover from an attack, you must understand the loopholes or the vulnerabilities within your business allowing attackers in. Ensure you note down how the recovery process is going and what you can do to improve it in case of next time. Learn from your mistakes and don’t allow your business to be a common or easy target. Update your business with the new security patches that are hard to break into. Deploy two-factor authentication throughout the business to ensure you make it hard for the attackers to move around your system after they gain access.
Consider Investing in External Support
One of the best efforts for good cybersecurity is the willingness to make critical financial investments in your business’s security. To prepare yourself or your business for these ransomware attacks, you need to partner with the best IT service providers. 4it is an IT support and services provider located and operating with top companies in South Florida. We assist our clients to keep their data secure and their IT services running efficiently. Contact us today for questions and more information about our services.
Special thanks to James Forbis with 4BIS in Cincinnati for his help with this article.