What’s the Best Defense Against Ransomware?

Written by: Brady Drake

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that is designed to block access to a device or network until the victim pays the attacker money. The ransomware encrypts the files, making them unusable. In the late 1980s, cyber attacks started as a simple virus spread through floppy discs, but now cybercrime has evolved into a billion-dollar industry

New security measures exist, but ransomware groups are constantly evolving to adapt to them. They are relentless and find new ways to extort victims. As long as they keep successfully getting businesses to pay up, attacks will only continue to increase and expand.

Luckily, there’s good news. With proper preparations, you can minimize the risk of a ransomware attack on your organization and mitigate the impacts if an attack does occur. Read on to explore the best defense against ransomware and learn practical steps you can take today to start protecting your business.

Best Practices and Precautions

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommends the following precautions to protect against ransomware:

Regularly update software and operating systems with the latest patches.

One of the easiest and most effective measures against ransomware is updating your software and operating systems regularly with the latest patches. Cybercriminals often target outdated applications and systems.

Keeping your systems up to date ensures that security gaps and vulnerabilities are patched, which makes it much more difficult for attackers to find a way in.

Phishing emails are a common tactic used by cybercriminals to trick users into clicking on malicious links or downloading infected attachments. It’s essential to verify the sender and email content before clicking links or downloading files. If you ever receive an email from an unknown sender or a source you don’t recognize, it’s best to delete it immediately and warn your colleagues.

Back up data regularly on a separate device and store it offline.

Regularly backing up your data is a crucial step in minimizing the risk of losing it to ransomware. Keeping a copy of your data on a separate device and storing it offline will help you recover your data after a ransomware attack. It’s also extremely important to regularly test your backup system to ensure the data can be restored when needed.

Follow safe practices when using devices that connect to the internet.

Safe practices when using devices that connect to the internet include

  • Avoiding public Wi-Fi networks
  • Not downloading files from untrusted sources
  • Ensuring your firewall is turned on

You should also ensure that your device has up-to-date antivirus software installed and that you use a secure web browser.

In addition to these measures, there are several other best practices that you can adopt to protect against ransomware: 

  • Anti-phishing and email security protocols and tools: These can include email filters that can help block malicious emails before they reach your inbox.
  • Security awareness training: Regular security awareness training can help educate your employees to identify and avoid phishing emails and other common cyber threats
  • Vulnerability scanning: Routine scanning can help identify vulnerabilities in your systems and applications before attackers can exploit them.

Automated patch management: Automating patch management eliminates the need for manual checks for outdated software/ systems, saving time and ensuring your systems are consistently up-todate and secure

  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR): EDR focuses on monitoring endpoints, such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, for suspicious activity and responding to any detected threats.
  • Network monitoring: This involves monitoring your network for suspicious activity and responding to any detected threats.
  • Network segmentation: Segmentation means dividing your network into smaller, more secure segments to limit the spread of malware in the event of an attack.
  • Identity and access management (IAM): IAM helps manage user access to your systems and applications, ensuring users only have the access they need to perform their roles.
  • Strong password policies and good password hygiene: This involves implementing password policies that require users to create strong, unique passwords and regularly change them.

Partner to Succeed

By partnering with an experienced IT service provider like NorthStar Technology Group, you can have a team of cybersecurity experts on your side keeping your data safe. We can help you implement and maintain best practices, tools, and technologies to protect your organization against ransomware.

Give yourself peace of mind. Contact us today to start securing your business against attacks

NorthStar Technology Group

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.