It used to be that being “secure” meant you had a firewall and antivirus on all your computers. The landscape has changed and as hackers and criminals become more sophisticated, more energy must be spent keeping systems secure. The old way simply isn’t good enough anymore.
Ransomware has been the primary growing threat to organizations for the last few years. Ransomware is malicious software that criminals use to hold your files for ransom.
You can either prevent infection, recover from it, or pay real money to get your files back. We’ll look at a few ways people get infected and ways to prevent them.
How do I get Infected?
There are really two major ways that people get infected with any virus, including ransomware.
Emails: We get thousands of emails in a year so it’s no wonder that sometimes we open that attachment that we weren’t supposed to. These emails take advantage of peoples lack of knowledge about technology and sometimes just plain fatigue to get you to open a malicious file.
A few tips to spot a fraudulent email:
1. The email address doesn’t look right. An email from ebay should come from ebay.com. Ebayid.com is not likely owned by ebay at all.
2. Often scammers will use a sense of urgency to force people to suspend their scrutiny in an effort to act quickly.
3. The Dating Format is non-US.
4. Again, threatening language is all about urging action.
5. This is the major one. The link looks somewhat legitimate, however, what outlook shows you in the message, is not necessarily where the link is going to take you. If you hover over the link, outlook will show you the true destination at the bottom. In the above message, they don’t match up, and that signals deceit!
Software vulnerabilities: There are many vulnerabilities found in software every day that allow hackers to force a program to do something for which it was not designed. Keeping software patched is an important piece in protecting you from these. These are more difficult to prevent with user training and require you to focus on prevention.
How do I prevent infection?
We know that sometimes people will still click on illegitimate links or open malicious attachments. So, how do we prevent users from doing harm to systems when this happens, or outright preventing them from having the opportunity? IT security now preaches an outlook called “security in layers”. Which means we put a series of different defenses should each be used to cover the gaps in any other systems.
As you can see below, there are a lot of different systems that can be put in place to protect against threats. However, we’ve put together a little chart that focuses directly on ransomware.
These are the methods outside of user training and normal systems that can help prevent ransomware infections. As you can see, they’re rated by their complexity, effectiveness and impact. Any items that are rated as low impact should likely be tested and rolled out as a priority item.
Get in touch today to discuss ways we can help you secure your business and prevent infection.
Stay tuned for Part 2 (coming next month)…We will focus on how you can recover from ransomware if you get infected.