How to defend your business against Ransomware attacks

In a strange quirk of history the first ever Ransomware attack, 30 years ago, was related to a virus that spread across the world. In 1989 AIDS researcher, Joseph Popp PhD, distributed 20,000 floppy disks to researchers in 90 countries saying the disks contained a computer based questionnaire to gauge the risk of contracting AIDS. The disks were infected with malware that became known as the digital version of the AIDS virus. The malware was only activated after the computer was turned on 90 times, displaying a ransom note on the screen demanding between $189 and $378 for a “software lease”.

The recent pandemic has seen a growth in the number of ransomware attacks. It is not only Windows systems at risk, attacks against Mac and Linux systems have also been seen. Ransomware is often delivered in the same way as many other types of malicious software. The steps individuals and organisations can take to protect themselves are below.

Defend your business against Ransomware attacks

  1. Use layers of defence to give more opportunities to detect malware.
  2. Assume that malware will infiltrate and take steps to limit the impact and plan your response.
  3. Make regular backups and make sure to have up-to-date backups of important files; so it’s possible to recover data without having to pay a ransom.
  4. Test your backups to make sure that the files can be restored.
  5. Make sure the backup device (external hard drive, USB stick or in a cloud service designed for this purpose) is not permanently connected to your network or device.
  6. Cloud syncing services (Dropbox, OneDrive, SharePoint, or Google Drive) should not the only backup. They may automatically synchronise the infected file.
  7. Prevent malware being delivered to devices and reduce the likelihood of malicious content through the firewall and block websites that are known to be malicious.
  8. Prevent malware from running on devices, keep all devices well-configured and up to date and install security updates as soon as they become available, enable automatic updates, use the latest versions of operating systems and applications to take advantage of the latest security features.

Security is a major concern for all businesses and creating a secure IT environment should be at the top of any business agenda. TiG are able to help implement security features that will help to defend your business, no matter what your starting point is. Contact us or download our Compass factsheet to learn more about our services.

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