More and more businesses are being targets for malware, known as ransomware. Hackers use ransomware to freeze a computer or mobile device, steal data and demand a ransom (anywhere between a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars) be paid. Ransomware infiltrates networks, servers, laptops, and computers, leading to a loss of essential data and information.
Here are tips to help business prevent ransomware attacks:
- Educate Employees – employees can be the first line of defense to combat online threats and help stop malware from infiltrating its network. A particular program and employee education about warning signs, safe practices, and responses help prevent these threats.
- Engage a recovery and data backup plan for critical information – backups are essential for lessening the impact of potential malware threats. Store data and important information on a separate device and offline to access if you come under a ransomware attack. If information is backed up, it can be restored in a ransomware attack and can help expedite the recovery process.
- Manage the use of privileged accounts – restrict employee’s ability to install and run software programs on network devices to limit networks exposure to malware and a possible ransomware attack.
- Be cautious of email links – if emails or pop up have links, employees shouldn’t click them unless they are positive they are legitimate. Tell employees to be cautious about opening attachments or downloading files from emails they receive. Corrupted files can contain viruses or other malware that is designed to weaken your network system.
- Make sure business devices are up-to-date – ensure Anti-Malware and antivirus software is set to automatically update and schedule regular scans so that the operating system runs efficiently. Ensure all critical software for protection information is up to date. This includes a mobile device, as soon as the latest operating systems are available.
- Enhance Passwords – use a business password manager to protect against intrusions. These managers ensure that passwords are hard to obtain, with at least eight characters, numbers, a combination of letters, and symbols.
- Strong Authentication – set up multi-factor authentication to access accounts on vital networks to minimize malware risks accessing data for hackers to steal.
- Secure Sites – if employees are using unfamiliar websites, be sure the URL begins with “https.” The “s” at the end designates that it is a secure site. If employees are sent a link in an email, they should “hover” their mouse over the link to check the URL’s validity.
- Be Cautious – warn employees to be cautious of what they read or receive online. If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. If it is a person you know, call them to verify legitimacy.
- Verify Email Requests – “phishing” attacks attempt to obtain personal information from your business by posing trustworthy organizations. Verify the legitimacy of an organization’s request by contacting the company. Do not confirm the contact information in the emails, because if it is a hacker, they could mislead you.
- Test Your System – run penetration tests on your network security at least once a year to check your system.
- Awareness – educate everyone in your company on how to identify scams, malicious links, and emails that could contain viruses and what to do if they come across anything that looks suspicious.
- Explore Cyber Liability Insurance – talk to your business’s insurance agent to see if there is the possibility to add cyber liability to your plan to ensure coverage if your business faces a cyber-attack.
As technology continues to evolve and grow, companies are becoming more dependent on data-driven networks, giving hackers the ability to pick an organization and hold their networks hostage virtually.
Preparing for a possible ransomware attack against your business is essential to protecting your vital information and data. The tips above can help provide the first line of defense against a cyber-attack.