5 Tips to prevent Ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malware that generally works by encrypting a user’s files and folders on the infected computer, from there it can quickly spread to any attached network drives such as your iCloud or file server via mapped drives. This makes it extremely dangerous as it can cripple an entire organisation in almost a blink of an eye.

Once encrypted there’s normally some sort of message left behind by the hacker which can be in the form of a txt file or image file with the details on how to un-encrypt your data. Usually the hacker will ask for the payment to be made in Bitcoin to their personal Bitcoin wallet, the reason being it’s almost impossible to track.

What can you do about it?

Back Up your data

Now backing up data by itself won’t help you prevent ransomware, but it will help get rid of the effects of ransomware on your network. By backing up your data you can rest easy knowing that even if all your files were encrypted it would be as simple as restoring from your back-up.

Install updates and patches as soon as possible

Installing the latest updates and patches is one of the easiest ways to prevent ransomware but it’s one that’s often forgotten. A large portion of Malware is designed to exploit security holes already identified in common applications, updating the software is the only way for the company to fix these holes.

Comprehensive staff training

Staff are more often than the not the main reason for a business getting infected with ransomware, it doesn’t matter how good your IT security is if your staff are not trained up in how to browse the web safely or how to recognize suspicious looking e-mails. Staff should be provided with comprehensive training as well as regular refresher courses to ensure they’re kept up-to-date with the latest phishing trends.

Firewall and Spam filters

The best approach is to have a multi-layered defence when it comes to IT security, you need to make sure that you’re not open to attack from the outside. The best way to do that is to use a firewall as the first line of defence, a firewall will block any unwanted traffic to your network from going any further.

E-mail is one of the preferred methods of attacks for a lot of spammers and ransomware. A good spam filter will ensure that most malicious messages will be blocked before it reaches your e-mail server. Although some will still get through which is why it’s important to also train the users as mentioned above.

Have a strong password policy

This is one that many people do not follow, or their password is so complex that it needs to be written down usually ending up left on post-it notes on desks. Passwords should be long and complicated with a mixture of upper, lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Users should also have a different password for each application.