How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Ransomware
To protect your organization against these ransomware attack vectors, consider the following:
1. Start with Cyber Awareness
Change perceptions in your organization that security is the sole responsibility of the Security Operations Center (SOC) and condition employees to view themselves as cyber foot soldiers. After all, the entire organization can be impacted by a cyber-attack, leading to downtime, lost productivity, financial losses, and significant disruption.
Conduct regular cyber awareness training, tabletop exercises, and security drills to reinforce lessons learned. By walking through a hypothetical ransomware incident, you can explain how these attacks happen, what employees should do if they find themselves targeted, and who to contact. Security teams can also launch mock phishing or smishing attacks to gauge how effective these awareness efforts have been, or not.
2. Maintain a Strong Patching Cadence
Basic cyber hygiene – like frequent system patching – is a powerful tool against ransomware attacks.
When BitSight analyzed hundreds of ransomware events to estimate the relative probability that an organization will be a ransomware target, we found that organizations that delay applying patches correlated with increased ransomware risk. In fact, organizations with a patching cadence grade of D or F were more than seven times more likely to experience a ransomware event compared to those with an A grade.
3. Establish Email and Instant Messaging Security Protocols
Because ransomware attack vectors often begin as a seemingly benign link or attachment to an email, consider implementing email security protocols such as DKIM, SPF, and DMARC to reduce spoofing and to authenticate the origin of email messages.
To protect against instant messenger ransomware attacks, use anti-virus software that scans instant messages for suspicious links and attachments. Some security solutions also seek out and secure vulnerabilities on IM applications that hackers can exploit. You can also set up your corporate messaging platform so that only people on a whitelist can message each other.
4. Continuously Monitor Your IT Environment for Ransomware
Continuously monitor and scan your digital environment for the presence of malware and ransomware. With BitSight, for example, you’ll get immediate insights into compromised systems that are infected with malware. Moreover, the BitSight platform can uncover cybersecurity gaps, such as unpatched systems, misconfigured software, and other vulnerabilities that correlate with a higher potential for ransomware attacks.
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