Ransomware attacks increased more than 90 percent in 2017. This represents an almost 10-fold rise since 2016.
In the IT world, ransomware is known as the supervillain of cybersecurity.
It targets businesses, hospitals, schools, consumers, and even police departments. With the rapid increase in incidents, ransomware mitigation is a key priority.
Here’s what you need to know about mitigating your risk.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software unwittingly downloaded to your computer. Its goal is not to steal information, but to block you from accessing computer files.
The malicious software encrypts files on the infected computer, blocking access to them. For a fee, the cybercriminals will give you the code to unlock your files.
Faced with the risk of losing access to valuable files and information, many victims pay the ransom to get their files unlocked.
Best Practices for Ransomware Mitigation
Now that you know what ransomware is, you might wonder how to mitigate this threat. Follow these steps:
1. Backup Your Files
The most important step you can take to protect yourself against an attack is to regularly backup the information on your computer. Backup files need to be stored on a separate system not attached to your network.
You’ll also want to verify the data backup process to make sure you’re capturing all the information you need to protect. It’s also important to make sure the recovery process is working correctly.
Backing up your files will allow you to restore information without having to pay the cybercriminals the ransom.
2. System-Level Protections
The most common points of entry for ransomware is through emails or infected websites.
Anti-malware products can detect and block many types of ransomware before they can infect your computer. But there are always new types of ransomware appearing, which are harder to block.
A key protection is to scan emails to find any that contain suspicious attachments. Blocking attachments containing suspect executable files can lessen the chance of malicious code getting through.
3. Network Level Protections
Firewalls can lessen the likelihood of ransomware downloads making it to your computers. They can limit or block the remote management services that criminals use to take control of your computer system.
Properly configured firewalls can also help block spam and limit the types of file extensions received through email. This can stop infected emails from being delivered.
4. Employee Training
Training and educating employees on an ongoing basis is another important ransomware mitigation strategy.
If employees know what to look for, they will be less likely to click on a suspicious email attachment. This is a key part of any employee computer security training program.
A traditional method of mitigating risk, insurance can help you recover any losses suffered due to ransomware. Cyber insurance policies protect against data breaches and other incidents.
While some policies will cover payment of a ransom, not all do. You’ll need to work with the insurance provider to understand your coverage.
What Else Can You Do?
Many businesses turn to cybersecurity providers for managed cybersecurity services. These can protect your computer network and provide ransomware mitigation.
Find out how we can protect your organization against ransomware and other cyber threats! Contact us today, we’re here to help.