Ransomware is a software application, which is injected silently into a PC or a network of PCs in an organization, which then encrypts the data and locks your PC internally. It prevents you from accessing your own PC, thus making you a digital hostage. Access to your system is only return after paying a hefty amount of ransom. Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee that the attacker will safely handover you the access. It is same as what we see in movies, where the kidnapper doesn’t release the hostage even after getting the ransom amount. Ransomware attack usually occurs to organization, where a chain of systems can be affected simultaneously. The ransom amount depends on the size of the organization, the confidential data of the organization and so on. Whatever be the size of your organization, it is very important that you take precautions to prevent any such ransomware attacks.
When is an organization vulnerable to ransomware attack?
The security system of any organization should be strong and well knit to prevent any virus attack. When talking about ransomware, that makes your organization vulnerable to such attack.
- If your organization is using pirated copies of operating system or anti-virus. Using pirated software is a crime above all. If you are thinking you are benefitted by saving some money, then you are completely wrong. Pirated copies of operating system, MS Office or anti-virus applications cannot be updated. These outdated applications have obsolete security. So, there is a high chance that your system is compromised beyond repair.
- If the device used is no longer state-of-the-art, then attacking such devices become extremely easy.
- If the organization does not have any strong backup system, both cloud and offline, then there is high probability that ransomware attack will be successful. Cloud database can also be attacked by ransomware. Thus, it is important that you have multiple copies of data backup both online and offline.
- Complete ignorance towards cybersecurity. If your organization operates online mostly, it is mandatory that you have basic awareness on cybersecurity. Being aware of cybersecurity means, downloading new security updates, patches, feature updates, replenishing backups and so on.
How To Protect Your Organization From Ransomware Attacks?
- The first and foremost important step is to use authentic versions of operating system, anti-virus, VPN, software applications, etc.
- A sturdy data backup is mandatory. You must hire a third-party service or expert opinion in case you are not well versed technically. A strong data backup can help you save copies of all critical information. It is also important that you test regular backups and check the possibility of data loss or system loss. An important reminder is that cloud backup can also be attacked and compromised. Thus, critical and confidential backups should always be isolated from network for ample protection.
- Any organization should also have an efficient recovery system. There are many paid services for data backup, Office 365 security, VPN, antivirus. Try to avoid the free services, as they lack important features, display unnecessary advertisements, in order to cop up with the free service provision.
- Prevent uncontrolled access to internet, or every location of your organization’s computers. Restrict users’ access to download and install irrelevant software. Apply Least privilege settings to all your systems, so that no software can be downloaded. Even if with this, malware may still be installed, but at least, you can restrict its spread across other networks and systems.
- Never click on unsolicited and suspicious web links in emails. Disable macros from email attachments. If any user opens an attachment and enable macros, then the embedded code will install the malware on the machine.
There are some vicious ransomwares like crypto locker. It does not let you access the data, and the data can only be retrieved after paying the ransom.