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  • Writer's pictureCJAZ Consulting

12 ways to Reduce the Risk of Ransomware Attack

A blackmailer holding a company to ransom for their data
12 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Ransomware Attack

Since the start of the pandemic Ransomware attacks have grown in both frequency and sophistication. Cyber criminals have become more organised, using “Ransomware-as-a-Service” with pre-developed Ransomware tools to launch their attacks, as well as the amounts demanded.

The cost of a Ransomware attack

Ransomware is extremely difficult to prevent. It only takes one employee clicking on the wrong link in an email or downloading a malicious attachment for Ransomware to take your business hostage.

The result of Ransomware attacks can be devastating, no matter the size or type of your organisation.

  • Financial damage

  • Stolen data

  • System downtime

  • Loss of productivity

  • Permanent reputation damage

After a deluge of serious attacks in 2020 and 2021 US President Joe Biden felt the need to reach out to business leaders, this is what he said,

“The most important takeaway from the recent spate of Ransomware attacks on US, Irish, German and other organisations around the world is that companies that view Ransomware attack as a threat to their core business operations, rather than a simple risk of data theft will react and recover more effectively.”

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that makes data and business systems unusable. It can infiltrate a company through phishing emails and vulnerabilities in an organisation’s network or software. Once the Ransomware is installed on a network, data is stolen, deleted or encrypted. A ransom is demanded before the Ransomware is deactivated or removed. However, even if you organisation pays the ransom, there is no guarantee that your data will be in-encrypted or returned. If the data is stolen, it could also be leaked.

Ransomware Prevention

Todays businesses are totally reliant on data. You need to protect your business critical data. Data is flowing into and out of your business every second of every day, across offices, sites and to remote workers.

Setting up controls to help prevent and contain Ransomware attacks, is the best course of action. Without controls in place and adequate data protection your business could be swamped by a deluge of cyberattacks.

Containment and damage limitation

Without controls in place, the flow of data into an organisation can be likened to an uncontrollable river. To mitigate risk that river needs to be dammed into a manageable stream, coming into and out of the business.

Business must stem the data flow with security tools and other systems, then the other data can be stopped more easily by human intervention, through employee awareness training and if the worst case should happen, a prepared Ransomware response plan.

  1. Firewall. Firewall or gateway needs to be in place before you can move onto the next level of protection.

  2. Endpoint Protection. The next logical step is to ensure that all devices on the network are protected. Secure endpoint protection should be in place to, protect at the file, application and network layer across all devices, and respond to security alerts in real-time.

  3. Remote Browser Isolation. Creating a safe way for your employees to access and use the internet. Each time a new URL is clicked the website is rendered in remote containers in the cloud. This provides a safe, natural browsing user experience, yet keeping ransomware from reaching endpoints or networks.

  4. Cloud Sand Boxing. Sand boxing checks the data coming into your network. Data is checked in an isolated environment so that your network is protected, and users only receive ‘clean’ files and are blocked from visiting potentially malicious websites.

  5. VPN or Zero Trust Network Access. Put a security ring around your data with a Virtual Private Network and pin down the use of data across your network with Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).

  6. Threat Intelligence. Machine learning and behavioural analysis of past and present malware, means you are automatically protected when new threats or strains arise.

  7. Email verification. Enable users to check and confirm their emails are being sent out to the right person. Alert users when they are about to send potentially sensitive data in an email or attachment.

  8. Data loss prevention. DLP tools can be set up to detect confidential and sensitive information that might be sent inadvertently by your staff. Set up policies to detect data such as credit card numbers, bank account details and national insurance numbers.

  9. Web access control. Web access tools reduce the risk of users accessing inappropriate or malicious websites.

  10. Vulnerability Management. Vulnerability Management tools regularly monitor your network, operating systems and applications for potential weak points.

  11. Security Awareness Training. With security breaches such as Phishing emails the most common way they gain access is through users clicking a malicious email link. Therefore it is vital that staff undergo the relevant security awareness training.

  12. Ransomware Response. Should the worse happen, be prepared with a Ransomware response. Detailed disaster recovery plan and regular backups.

Best practice for Malware Prevention

In summary, you need to be aware of and protect against:

  1. Infected websites

  2. Email downloads

  3. Phishing emails

If you would like an expert security review and our recommendations, please get in touch. We can set up a security audit and start putting the best possible security measures for your business.


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