If you’re wondering what a ransomware is, it is any malicious program that holds on to your data using encryption for a ransom. The effects of an attack from such a software or program on your business or personal data can be costly. You should read on if you’re interested in knowing how to stay safe from Ransomware attacks in 2018.
The year 2017 had many notable ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya and there are no signs of this changing in 2018. Many large organizations and government departments all over the world were largely affected in 2017. The following provides details on some very important steps and actions to take to prevent such attacks in 2018.
10 Tips for staying protected from potential Ransomware attacks
Knowledge is power and understanding how to prevent Ransomware attacks will save you and your business a great deal. You will be preventing not just the attack but also potential data loss or the cost of data recovery. The following tips are essential if you’re going to stay ahead of any Ransomware attacks in 2018.
Set a complex password
This may seem like a simple step but it is perhaps the most important in preventing malware attacks on your computers. A complex password essentially means it will be extremely difficult for hackers to use brute-force to breach your system.
It is also recommended that you set strong and unique passwords for different user accounts on your system and servers. This will reduce the likelihood of hackers accessing all your vital systems with one user account.
Ransomware attacks such as WannaCry take advantage of system and software vulnerabilities that are yet to be resolved. By regularly updating your operating System and applications, many of these vulnerabilities will be instantly resolved. For instance, some of the victims of the WannaCry attack in 2017 experienced the breach simply because they failed to update their Windows Operating systems.
Verify or delete emails with suspicious attachments or links
The safest option here’s to never open any suspicious looking emails or download suspicious attachments. Hackers may use breached accounts from individuals or organizations you know so it’s important to verify email attachments before opening. In addition, you should avoid clicking on any unknown links that redirect you from your email as they could potentially download malware to your computer.
You’ll also need to avoid downloading files and attachments, especially pictures as viruses can be easily sewn up into them.
Use an up-to-date antivirus/anti Malware program
By using an up-to-date anti-virus program from a reputable provider, your system will be sufficiently equipped to ward off most ransomware attacks. Anti-virus/malware providers have updated databases of latest malware threats which aid them in quickly detecting and protecting systems.
You should take note that many hackers will find ways to disable your antivirus program so this alone may not be enough to prevent a ransomware attack.
In this digital era where files and applications can be installed from almost anywhere, this has become more important. You should only install software from trusted or official sources. Cyber-attackers are known for bundling up spyware into some applications so you should ideally be vigilant when installing applications.
Avoid downloads from dubious sites
When you’re downloading P2P torrents or really large software installation files, you should avoid doing so from malicious websites. Ransomware attackers can trick you into downloading infected files from dubious sources so before downloading any file, you should ensure that the source has a good reputation.
Backup data effectively and regularly
Effectively backing up your files essentially means that you never have to start from scratch in the event of a data breach or Ransomware attack. The most important step when backing up is to store data on hard drives that will not be connected to the computer. This will ensure that they cannot be breached by any cyber attackers who successfully breach the main computer. In addition, you should also aim to create backups at least weekly.
Use a firewall or content scanner and filter for your server and inbound mails
Most operating systems for computers and servers have a firewall preinstalled in them which usually fights off Ransomware attacks. To use your Firewall, you must ensure that it is turned on and properly configured. Have an active firewall on your system essentially makes it far more difficult for a Ransomware attack to be successful.
Make your network internal
Ransomware such as WannaCry and NotPetya require your network for propagation across your computers. Making your corporate network internal is ideally the most effective way of preventing a ransomware attack on your computers. Internal networks do not connect directly to the internet and as a result hackers are unable to gain direct access.
Although this is the most effective way of preventing ransomware attacks in 2018, network users will have to deal with the hindered internet access.
Stay updated on latest phishing and security threats
In terms of preventing Ransomware attacks, understanding how they operate or how they are initiated is important. You should stay updated on the latest phishing tricks and other security threats to avoid falling victim for them.
In this era where hackers continue to find smarter ways of breaching systems, there’s no guarantee against Ransomware attacks. So, in the unfortunate event that your systems have been breached by a Ransomware, the following steps should help you recover your data.
Contact your IT Support
If you’re on an enterprise network and you’ve unfortunately experienced a ransomware attack, do nothing. You’ll need to get in touch with your IT department or managed service provider if you use one. It is not advisable to attempt any data recovery steps on your own.
Contact a Data Recovery Expert
If you’re a business owner or an individual experiencing a ransomware attack, you’ll need to contact a data recovery expert. Data Recovery experts like SALVAGEDATA have successfully helped many businesses overcome the setbacks associated with ransomware attacks. Once again, unless you’re an expert, do not attempt negotiating with hackers or attempt to recover encrypted data on your own.
Times are changing really fast in the world of ransomware attacks and businesses have to be smarter in preventing these attacks. Some of the most devastating ransomware attacks ever were experienced in 2017. The best way to prevent similar attacks in 2018 is to remain proactive. The steps above are aimed at helping businesses and individuals proactively fight off ransomware attacks and recover data in the event of an attack.
If you’d like to discuss further with data recovery and security experts on how to stay ahead in 2018, get in touch with SALVAGEDATA today. Our next security post will be examining the NotPetya Ransomware and all the havoc it created in 2017.