Ransomware, and the closely related killware, are the most significant threats from cybercriminals and state-backed cyberattacks. Both aim to infect and then encrypt IT systems to render them inoperable.
In the case of ransomware, a demand for payment follows and, in some cases, the criminals provide a decryption pathway. In the case of killware, no ransom demand follows as the goal is damage and disruption — usually state-backed attackers are behind this kind of attack. Preventing ransomware attacks is better than cleaning up after one.
Defending against ransomware requires deploying the standard defenses that should be in place in all organizations. Ransomware is a form of malware, and while it is the most significant threat, it is not the only one. In a long-read article titled What is Ransomware, and How Do I Prevent It?, Critical Insight's CISO Mike Hamilton outlined the steps organizations should take to protect themselves from ransomware, plus actions that will make recovery easier if disaster strikes. We won't repeat the previous article's details here, but we list the headline topics covered below.
We should also emphasize that ransomware prevention and broader cybersecurity threat protection are not one-off tasks. The threats are always changing, and protections need to be constantly reviewed and adapted as the threat landscape changes.
Staying up to date on the threats targeting organizations is a full-time task. It is a complicated topic that needs to be the full-time focus for a team in an organization. Many organizations struggle to recruit or train staff to have the relevant skills. Cybersecurity is an area that is ideal for getting external help from dedicated cybersecurity protection companies such as Critical Insight. We have highly skilled and focused cybersecurity professionals who can work with your existing IT teams to ensure robust protections are in place. We also have dedicated Security Operations Centers (SOCs) to monitor your network in real-time for abnormal behaviors associated with ransomware and other attacks. The SOC staff can take immediate remedial action when attacks are detected to prevent any spread and limit the damage caused.
The article includes a discussion of these topics:
- The importance of tested backups
- Documented policies and procedures for attacks
- The importance of staff awareness training
- Deploying proactive defense measures
- Using strong user authentication methods
- Including strong passwords, and multi-factor authentication
- Keeping network and border protections current
- Encrypting data at rest and when transferred over networks
- Deploying endpoint protection to devices
- Applying security patches as soon as possible after release
- Securing WiFi networks