Ransomware is the most common danger that enterprises of all sizes and industries face today. In fact, it is anticipated that ransomware assaults would cost more than $20 billion globally in 2021, with the figure expected to rise to $265 billion by 2031.
A ransomware outbreak can cause data loss, financial and reputational harm, and even the entire closure of a business. However, not everything is as bad as it appears. There are strategies to reduce the likelihood of a successful assault and, more critically, to recover quickly if a ransomware outbreak strikes your systems.
What Is Ransomware Prevention?
Ransomware prevention often includes all of the efforts that businesses take to keep ransomware from causing long-term harm to their IT infrastructures and bottom lines. Protection mechanisms, monitoring activities, and recovery procedures should all be included in a complete anti-ransomware plan.
Ransomware mitigation strategies
An organization's major priority should be on ransomware defense. It is preferable to prevent a ransomware attack rather than try to reduce its damage or restore your affected data. You may reduce the possibilities of ransomware invading your systems and the implications of such a breach by establishing the essential processes and employing the appropriate technologies.
Measures for detecting ransomware
Monitoring your surroundings for malware and ransomware is critical for early detection. The sooner you detect a breach, the better your chances of preventing it. To guard against ransomware, you may use a variety of detection technologies and recommended practices.
Recovery measures for ransomware
If a ransomware assault penetrates your defenses, it might encrypt or lock your data, disrupting typical corporate processes. Numerous ransomware recovery solutions enable you to reduce data loss and disruption while recovering your workloads quickly. Keep in mind that this process may be tough and time-consuming, so use the precautions suggested below.
Best Practices for Ransomware Protection
A multi-layered approach to ransomware defense is recommended. This strategy entails educating your people, safeguarding endpoints, installing the relevant technologies, building a comprehensive incident response plan, and other activities.
1. Employee education
Today, 95% of cybersecurity concerns can be traced back to human mistake, and 43% of all breaches are deliberate or inadvertent risks from within an organization. A single device can serve as the launchpad for a company-wide attack.
However, it is advised that you educate personnel on cyber hygiene as soon as they are hired. Furthermore, you should provide regular training sessions to ensure that users are always informed of the current dangers and that the necessary orders are followed.
The following strategies are critical for preventing ransomware and mitigating occurrences caused by human error:
· Do not open emails from unknown senders or open questionable attachments.
· Do not click on marketing banners or dangerous links located on unfamiliar websites.
· Make strong passwords, change them regularly, and avoid using the same password for several accounts.
· Turn on two-factor authentication.
· Do not disclose your personal information or keep it in a public place.
· Never insert an unfamiliar USB stick.
· Use public Wi-Fi networks as little as possible.
· Follow your organization's security policy and report suspicious activity as soon as possible.
· Provide additional information to your staff about manual remedies and software that can aid in the removal of malware.
2. Use network segmentation.
Implementing network segmentation is the greatest strategy to protect your network and defend against ransomware. This is particularly critical in cloud and hybrid systems. If one device is infected, properly connecting many subnets and routers can restrict the spread of a malware attack throughout the whole enterprise.
Consider utilizing the IEEE 802.1X standard and supporting authentication methods to setup network access control. To connect to a network and pass authentication and create an encrypted connection, a signed certificate and valid credentials are required. The architecture consists of three major components: a client, an authenticator, and an authentication server. To recognize a user for a wired Ethernet connection, a RADIUS server and an 802.1X compliant switch are required. 802.1X may be used on both wired and wireless networks.
Furthermore, if possible, undertake network penetration testing to uncover vulnerabilities that might be utilized to gain access to your network. Repair any flaws discovered in order to guard against ransomware and avoid future attacks.
3. Set up routers and port settings
Because hackers constantly monitor networks for open ports to exploit, improperly configured routers might be utilized as an attack vector. You can defend yourself against ransomware by blocking access to unused ports and changing conventional port numbers to custom numbers.
You may also install URL filtering and ad blocking on routers that provide internet access to your organization's users. To maintain the URL filtering system up to date, modern software may automatically add known harmful sites to content filters.
4. Use both basic and sophisticated security technologies.
The majority of ransomware versions are well-known and can be identified using basic security technologies. However, new varieties of malware are found on a regular basis, and current variations are becoming more clever, which is why you should also use modern protection software.
Several defense mechanisms are listed below that you may utilize to guard against ransomware assaults.
· Firewall security. This is your initial line of protection against cyber-attacks. HTTP traffic to and from online services is monitored and filtered by a web application firewall. To limit the possibility of ransomware invasion, you may also set the firewall on routers.
· Antivirus protection software. If malicious behavior is identified in Windows or macOS, the antivirus automatically blocks questionable files and alerts you. Remember to keep your antivirus software up to date so that it can detect new forms of ransomware. To protect VMware virtual machines (VMs) operating on ESXi hosts, several antivirus solutions can interact with vShield and vSphere.
· Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). To guard against ransomware attacks before and during a breach, modern EDR solutions undertake real-time threat intelligence and analysis. To reduce damage as much as possible, you can automate the reaction and mitigation operations.
· Email safety. Anti-spam and anti-malware filters on email servers that are properly configured prevent users from getting email messages that include hazardous links or file attachments (or at least reduces that probability significantly). To propagate a ransomware outbreak, attackers typically exchange links to malicious websites or attach Word and Excel documents with macros.
Filter settings should be updated on a regular basis utilizing databases from reputable providers such as Google and Microsoft. You may enable anti-malware and anti-spam filters to display a warning message or delete a message before it reaches a user, depending on your security policy.
· Sandboxing. Sandboxing adds an extra degree of protection by allowing you to test a code or link in an isolated environment on a parallel network. If a questionable message gets past the email filters, it may be examined and tested before it reaches your network.
· System for Detecting Intrusions (IDS). The intrusion detection system (IDS) is a sophisticated tool that monitors your network and systems for hostile activity or policy breaches. When a danger is discovered, the Intrusion Detection System automatically sends a report to security administrators, allowing them to take the appropriate precautions and defend against ransomware.
· Technology of deception. When everything else fails, deception technology can assist you in preventing your data from being stolen or encrypted. Using this technology, you can construct a decoy that looks just like your real data and servers, fooling cyber thieves into thinking their assault was successful. This also helps you to spot a threat rapidly before it causes harm or data loss.
· IT monitoring software. Real-time IT infrastructure monitoring enables you to detect a compromise quickly based on network performance. Suspicious CPU load, unusual disk activity, and high storage use are all telltale signs of a ransomware attack.
Consider setting up a honey pot (or trap) if you see unusual behavior on your network. A honey pot (or trapping) is a gadget that detects unusual activities. It is a collection of non-standard files kept on a server. In the event that certain files are accessed, the system administrator is alerted because this should not occur during regular production operations.
5. Use zero-trust security to limit permissions.
As the name implies, the zero-trust paradigm implies that any user, internal or external, attempting to connect to the network cannot be trusted and is a potential danger. Only when a comprehensive verification and authentication procedure is completed is access permitted. By preventing unwanted access, this method guards against ransomware and breaches.
To reinforce your security strategy even further, provide users just the rights they need to fulfill their tasks, using the concept of least privilege. A ordinary user, for example, must not have administrator access. It is vital to note that in order to access the backup repository holding sensitive data, you must first register a special account.
6. Update systems and install security patches
Installing security fixes for operating systems and apps on time lowers security holes and vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. It is advised that you develop a patch management program and, if possible, enable auto-updates.
7. Create a reaction strategy.
Every firm must have a reaction strategy ready in case the ransomware assault is effective. A business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy does not protect against ransomware, but it can help you limit downtime and restore lost data rapidly.
Make sure you identify a series of measures that your team should do in the event of a breach. Among these tasks are:
· Unplugging infected devices from the network
· Getting rid of ransomware and infected files
· Data can be recovered using backups.
· If feasible, use a decryption tool.
It is critical to emphasize that you should not pay the ransom! Each payment encourages thieves to undertake new assaults, and there is no assurance that you will receive your data back.
8. Backup your data on a regular basis.
If a ransomware attack does penetrate your network, backups can help you recover with little damage and disruption. Backup recovery is the most effective way for restoring corrupted or encrypted data and workloads.
The following are some of the recommended strategies to promote a quick recovery:
· To eliminate a single point of failure and ensure data recovery, use the 3-2-1 backup rule.
· Backups should be kept in immutable storage to avoid ransomware encryption and alteration.
· Maintain air-gapped backup copies on tape and other devices disconnected from the network.
· Verify your backups to ensure that all of your data is recoverable.
· To view and manage backups, create a separate administrator account.
Ransomware is one of the most significant dangers to businesses worldwide. Fortunately, the recommended practices discussed in this blog article enable you to decrease the chance of infection, mitigate data loss, and offer optimal ransomware protection.