Ransomware is the most prevalent form of malware attack. This is according to a 2018 report compiled by Verizon. In the same report, ransomware was No.22 in 2014 but in 2018, it has risen to be among the top 5 cyber threats. The rapid rise of ransomware cannot be ignored.
The idea of losing data sends shivers down the spine of individuals and companies as well. Can you imagine losing years of data in form of intellectual property? Well, that is unfathomable.
The good news is that there is something we can do Here is how to secure your data against ransomware.
#1 Back up your data daily
The best and the first line of defense against ransomware is backing up your data on a regular basis. Today, small, medium and large companies have several options of securing their data. The best backup method for companies is cloud-based file storage. For personal use, an external disk drive detached from the company’s network is great.
Let’s take a look at each backup system
Cloud-based file storage or online backup is a system designed to store data online. Basically, the company sends a copy of the data to a proprietary cloud-based storage. This data is stored on open source storage pods or a vault file system. What you ought to know is that the service is accessible via any modern browser. Also, encryption of your files prevents data theft.
An external disk drive is suitable for personal use and allows users to store data offline. To access the data, you have to connect the external disk drive to your computer.
As a company, it is wise to set up a backup policy. By doing so, your data is safe and available whenever you need it.
#2 Set up real-time protection systems
The greatest threat to your company’s data is your employees. Think about it. Your employees own email accounts apart from the company email address. They can access these emails from their work computers. Since the work computers connect to the same network your company servers are, it is very easy for your data to be stolen.
Well, ransomware is distributed via spam email campaigns, suspicious PDF documents, and others. If the employee receives an email from an unknown source and ends up clicking a hyperlink, the ransomware is activated and executes its threat.
For instance, it can lock out your employees and even yourself from the company network and computers. While you are locked out, the ransomware could be stealing a lot of data in the background. Also, the owners of the ransomware will demand payment to stop the attack.
To prevent such attacks, set up real-time protection systems for your emails, computers, network, and servers. Such systems work by real-time scanning your network, the servers, and computers. Also, it will block or quarantine threats keeping data away from malicious people.
#3 Use endpoint and network detection technologies
Endpoint and network detection technology refer to cybersecurity technology designed to monitor and respond to advanced threats. As a subset of endpoint security, it differs from endpoint protection platforms such as anti-malware and best computer antivirus solution. This means the primary purpose of the endpoint detection and response system is not to stop threats in the pre-execution stage.
Rather, it provides endpoint visibility to help security experts find, investigate and respond to all advanced threats and attacks affecting several endpoints.
Features of an endpoint and network detection system include:
- Having the capability of detecting and preventing hidden exploit processes
- Offers visibility across endpoints which include processes, communications, and applications. This helps in the detection of malicious activities.
- Automates threat alerts and defensive response.
- Offers forensic capabilities. This allows security experts to understand the attacker’s movement and stop the attack.
Examples of endpoint and network detection systems include FireEye Endpoints security, Carbon BlackCbresponse, Cybereason Total Enterprise Protection, Symantec Endpoint Protection, and Tanium.
#4 Patch your software
Companies rely on enterprise software to run the organization. For instance, PCs need operating systems and other software to run. During software development, programmers follow a curated step to ensure that the final product is ready for the market. Despite the extensive testing of the software before release, the software does end up with bugs.
Since malicious people have the intention of exploiting others for their own benefit, they work round the clock to find these bugs. Once they find bugs in a software, they develop ransomware and use it to attack computers around the world. A good example is the WannaCry ransomware which attacked computers running Windows XP in 2017. Users were threatened with having all their files deleted unless they send $300 in bitcoin to a certain digital address.
To prevent your company computers and servers from exploitation, patch your software. Software patches address specific flaws, they improve an operating systems stability and also fix vulnerabilities. As an essential preventative measure, patches are released by software companies. To update, make sure your computers are connected to the internet before making a company-wide patching.
#5 Restrict local and user accounts from having administrator access
Local user accounts are stored on the server and they are assigned permissions and rights. As security principals, local user accounts are used to manage and secure access to resources on a standalone server. Such accounts are created after the installation of a Windows server OS. What you need to know is that the default local user account cannot be deleted or removed.
When it comes to the administrator account, this is the user account of the system administrator. As the first account created after the installation of Windows Server OS, it offers the system administrator full control over directories, files, services, and other resources. The administrator account can also be used to create local users and assign them control permissions and user rights.
To protect your servers and data, it is important to restrict local and user accounts from having administrator access. Not only will they have full access to your servers and data but in case of a malicious attack, the ransomware will exploit your employee’s computer with administrator access to attack and steal your data.
To restrict access, system administrators using Windows Server operating systems need to configure the group policy objects. This will deny unauthorized users from accessing the servers, it will deny them from logging on as a batch job, as a service or through the remote desktop service.
There you have it, top 5 ways to secure your data against the greatest threat – ransomware. Just to recap the points highlighted above, to prevent ransomware threats and exploits, invest in real time protection systems. Also, patch your operating system often and use endpoint and network detection technologies. You should back up your data and restrict local and user accounts from having administrator access.
By doing this, your data is safe.