Ransomware has emerged as one of the most potent and dangerous cyber threats facing businesses today. From shutting down critical utilities and essential healthcare services to interrupting supply chains and crippling Fortune 500 companies, ransomware is wreaking havoc and running up costs for businesses large and small.
Since ransomware prevention efforts will never be 100% effective, CISOs and security teams everywhere are seeking strategies for how to avoid ransomware and how to minimize the damage of a successful attack. Security hygiene and continuous monitoring are critical, helping to identify potential vulnerabilities and address them before hackers can exploit them.
BitSight offers an industry-leading Security Ratings platform that shows organizations how to avoid ransomware. By delivering clear visibility into the attack surface, BitSight enables security teams to prevent more attacks from landing within an IT environment, and to mitigate the attacks that successfully get past perimeter defenses.
Best practices for stopping ransomware
To combat the rise in ransomware attacks, organizations must take specific steps to protect themselves against this pernicious threat.
Establish email security protocols
Ransomware attacks often begin as a seemingly benign link or attachment to an email. Organizations must adopt security awareness programs that train employees on how to avoid ransomware emails and report suspicious email activity. IT security teams need to implement email security protocols such as DKIM, SPF, and DMARC to reduce spoofing and to authenticate the origin of email messages.
Monitor third-party vendors
Even when organizations have top-notch security controls in place, they can easily fall prey to a ransomware attack when security practices of a connected vendor aren’t sufficient. Establishing a process to continuously monitor the security postures of third-party vendors ensures an organization can identify security gaps and recommend remediation strategies effectively.
Track security ratings
Monitoring the security ratings of an organization and its vendors can help identify vulnerabilities that hackers may be able to exploit. BitSight’s research team analyzed hundreds of ransomware events from November 2018 to better understand the relative probability that an organization would experience a ransomware breach. These studies have proven to be a good indicator on for how to avoid ransomware as companies with a low rating are 6.4 times more likely to be a victim than a highly rated company.
Avoid peer-to-peer file sharing on networks
Because common ransomware attacks are often prevalent on peer-to-peer file sharing websites, IT teams should monitor and prevent employees from downloading unauthorized files and engaging in file sharing activities.
Increase patching cadence
Poor patching cadence is one of the most concerning risk vectors for organizations. BitSight’s research has uncovered that patching cadence is a strong overall indicator of security program performance. The more time that passes between availability and implementation, the lower the security performance of the organization. In fact, poor patching performance correlated to a nearly sevenfold increase in ransomware risk for companies with a C grade or lower in BitSight’s study. To mitigate the risk of poor patching cadence, organizations are encouraged to conduct monthly patches, with the exception of zero-day/out-of-band patches which should be applied ASAP.
When adopting plans for how to avoid ransomware, BitSight offers a wealth of tools and capabilities for mitigating the risk of ransomware.