Basic guide to ransomware for businesses
A huge number of businesses have suffered ransomware attacks in the last couple of years. That’s alarming, primarily because the spending on cybersecurity has increased manifold. For the uninitiated, ransomware is a type of malware used by hackers to encrypt data and files. In return of a ransom, the hacker promises to give a decryption key. Ransomware remains one of the key web security concerns for businesses around the world, but the good news is basic cybersecurity measures can be handy in preventing such attacks. Here’s more what businesses need to know about ransomware.
How does ransomware work?
There are various stages in a ransomware attack. The first stage is called infection, which typically happens through a phishing email or malware. A ransomware file may try to replicate itself on other networks and systems. The next step is security key exchange and encryption, where the hacker will take control of the malware or give instructions for encryption of all available data and files. Once the encryption is successful, the hacker will then ask for a ransom, usually in bitcoins or any other major cryptocurrency. In most cases, the ransom is asked with a threat that the data will be leaked otherwise. If the target agrees to pay the ransom, the money must be sent first, but there is usually no assurance that a decryption key will be received.
How to handle ransomware concerns?
A few basic steps go a long way in strengthening security, which can then help in preventing ransomware attacks –
- Start with penetration testing. Make sure that networks are tested and monitored on a regular basis. This can help in detecting malware and backdoors that are invisible otherwise.
- Install anti-malware software. There are some amazing antimalware suites, including products that are designed to find and detect ransomware files and malware attachments. These should be installed on all workstations.
- Watchout for emails. Emails are usually the biggest source of malicious links and attachments. Most ransomware files are downloaded from emails. Establish a few dos and don’ts for email browsing and ask employees to use a spam filter.
- Take backups. Backups are handy for ensuring that systems and networks have limited downtime after a ransomware attack. Even if a hacker has managed to hack a file, they cannot hold the data ransom.
- Use multifactor authentication. MFA is extremely handy for managing ransomware concerns. Just bypassing a password wouldn’t be enough for hackers to cause a breach.
If needed, get cybersecurity experts to enhance your ransomware prevention measures.