Every 14 seconds a business is falling victim to a ransomware attack, and at least half of them are small businesses. Ransomware has grown over the years to become a significant threat to organizations and many high-profile attacks have taken down hospitals, government municipalities, and more.
In 2019, an upstate New York school district had to delay the start of the new school year due to a ransomware attack that crippled their operations. And over 50 cities or towns became ransomware victims in just the first half of the year alone.
While governments are a growing target for this type of malware, businesses are generally the ones in their crosshairs. As recently as October 2, 2019 the FBI issued a public service announcement warning about high-impact ransomware attacks threatening U.S. businesses.
Unfortunately, we’ve found that many companies that get hit unexpectedly by a costly ransomware attack think they’re safe because they have a managed IT plan. But unfortunately, not all providers are as diligent as Neuron Computers, and may leave systems unpatched or lack best practices like two-factor authentication, leaving their clients’ networks vulnerable.
We believe in building the perfect network, which includes air tight security and protection from ransomware and all forms of malware. We are proudly paranoid about IT security and leave no stone unturned when it comes to the security of our clients.
What are some of the best practices when it comes to ransomware prevention? Read on for tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
Avoid Becoming the Next Ransomware Victim
Not only are ransomware attacks on the rise, the ransoms being demanded are getting higher. In 2019, the average ransomware payment increased by 184% between Q1 and Q2.
The average cost for a ransomware attack is $36,000.
Here is how the typical ransomware attack goes down:
- Your network is infected by ransomware usually in the form of a malicious attachment on a phishing email.
- The ransomware causes your files to be encrypted so you cannot access or read them.
- The attacker demands a ransom to restore your files and will generally ask for it in the form of a bitcoin payment or possibly a gift card.
- Once you pay the ransom, the hacker may (not all are honest!) give you a key to decrypt your files.
Here are some of the best practices to protect against the growing threat of ransomware.
Regularly Back Up All Your Data to a Reliable Backup/Recovery Program
One thing that causes a ransomware attacker to lose all their leverage is if you have a backup of all your files that can be quickly restored once the ransomware is cleaned. This negates your need to pay them any type of ransom and ensures your business continuity in the event of any number of potential catastrophes.
Make Sure All Patches and Updates are Applied
A technology infrastructure has multiple moving parts, including operating systems, software, and device firmware. All of these receive security patches and other updates regularly, but if you don’t have a managed IT plan or other way to ensure they’re applied in a timely manner, you can be in danger of a breach.
Train Employees on Proper Prevention
Most data breaches are initiated from a phishing email that contains a malicious file attachment or link to a “drive by download” website. Conducting regular cybersecurity training for your employees can help them get in the habit of doing a double take before they mistakenly click on a dangerous file.
Restrict Software Permissions
Controlling the execution of programs in known ransomware locations, like temporary folders for browsers and compressions/decompression programs can help safeguard your system should a ransomware file be downloaded by not letting it self-execute.
Use a Strong Anti-Phishing Email Program
Anti-phishing programs help keep your users from having to deal with dangerous emails by catching malicious files before they slip into your inboxes. Look for tools that offer sandboxing, which puts suspicious files in a quanrantined virtual environment that replicates your OS so the file will show its intent and can be immediately identified and removed.
Restrict User Permissions for Installing Programs
By only allowing certain administrative users the ability to install programs, you can reduce your risk of a ransomware or malware infection. Many computer users simply run their machine from the full admin login, which can allow a hacker to use that to install malicious programs. If your user account has restricted permissions, it means that any malicious script that gets in can also hit restrictions and be stopped from auto-installing.
Protect Your Network with a Managed IT Plan
Managed IT security means you never have to worry whether software, firmware, and operating systems are being properly patched or if there’s an unprotected device out there you don’t know about.
Neuron’s Managed IT Services can offload IT from your plate and allow you to focus solely on your business, knowing your data security is in good hands.
Contact us today to learn more at 1-833-4-NEURON or reach out online.