Strategies For Preventing Ransomware Attacks

September 22, 2023 | Blog

Ransomware is the online villain of the moment. Statistics indicate that ransomware attacks happen every 19 seconds. Projections suggest they’ll cost its victims more than $265 billion every year by 2031.

While the volume of ransomware attacks decreased in 2022, they still account for 20% of cyber crimes. And, they could be very costly to a business in terms of financial impact and the impact an attack could have on a company’s reputation for securing sensitive data.

There are a number of different types of ransomware attacks, but the most common fall into two general categories. Crypto ransomware attacks encrypt select files on a device and lock users out of those files until a ransom is paid to restore access. Locker ransomware attacks actually lock authorized users out of devices entirely until a ransom is paid. 

There are ways to avoid falling victim to a ransomware attack that could compromise individual devices or entire networks, particularly in an era of remote work and extended networks. From user education to software and systems, to network segmentation and endpoint protection, a robust offense for network security could be the best defense.

Educate the team. Tech savviness varies from individual to individual, which means not everyone in an organization may even know what ransomware is or the threat it poses. To make sure everyone in an organization, from the C-suite to the latest, entry-level hire, is in the know about ransomware, it’s important for tech staff to educate employees on it — be it through a presentation, email or newsletter. When everyone is properly educated about the topic, it only bolsters the number of eyes on the look for suspicious activity. 

Systems and software. Linked somewhat to the education aspect of ransomware protection, it is important to keep systems and software updated to avoid any loopholes where viruses and malicious programs can wiggle their way in. That means users across the network need to commit to updating browsers and operating systems, as well.

Backup data. While data backups don’t necessarily prevent ransomware attacks, it is a helpful practice to ensure that sensitive data is protected in the event of an attack. Automated backup systems ensure that files are backed up on a regular basis, taking the guesswork out of this essential task.

Install advanced protection. By implementing advanced endpoint protection across a network, organizations have the support of a system that monitors the network — from end to end — for abnormalities and other suspicious behaviors that might otherwise go undetected. In addition to endpoint protection, it’s important for organizations to develop an incident response plan that is able to be deployed in the event of a ransomware attack. Preparation ahead of time saves time and possibly money in the end. 

Implement network segmentation. When a network is strategically divided, through network segmentation, it can sequester sensitive data and better protect it from attack. In addition, a segmented network serves as a layered approach to protection, as compared to a single exterior perimeter to the network.

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