What Are the Best Practices to Prevent and Deal with Ransomware?

From large corporations to government entities, a ransomware attack is everywhere. It is up to you to prevent the attack from becoming successful.

Ransomware is a kind of malware, which blocks access to files, devices, or systems until the ransom gets paid. Ransomware achieves this by encrypting files, blocking system access, or threatening to erase files.

It can be very harmful when a ransomware attack takes effect on emergency call centers, hospitals, and other important infrastructures.

Defending against ransomware needs Sangfor Technologies and all-hand-on-deck or holistic approaches, which can bring together the entire organization. So without further ado, the following are the best practices to prevent and deal with ransomware:

1.      Opt for Network Segmentation

Since ransomware may spread faster throughout networks, it is imperative to limit its spread in the case of an attack. Using network segmentation will help divide networks into smaller networks so that organizations may isolate ransomware as well as prevent it from spreading.

All individual subsystems must have their own security controls, unique access, and firewalls to avoid ransomware from reaching the targeted data. Segmented access won’t just prevent the spread of main networks. It will as well give security staff more time to identify and get rid of threats.

2.      Consider Indelible and Immutable Storage

Among the effective ways of safeguarding data against ransomware is using indelible and immutable storage. This ascertains that data is not deleted, encrypted, or changed for a determined period of time.

But the term immutable and indelible storage has become a buzzword across backup vendors nowadays. For immutability storage, which is logical and includes physical immutability.

The industry is currently moving two kinds of immutability. These include Compliance Mode and Enterprise Mode. Basically, Enterprise Mode is referred to as the ‘four eyes’ approach. That means you require two sets of eyes to validate changes.

For instance, the first pair serves as the backup admin, while the other pair acts as the security admin. Without these two providing approval, achieving alteration won’t be possible.

3.      Use Application Whitelisting

Windows AppLocker enables organizations to use application whitelisting that limits application, which need to run on systems. Organizations may explicitly enable some applications to run and specify locations from which apps are allowed to execute.

Usually, ransomware delivered through exploit kits or phishing is located in AppData directories, Temp, or Downloads. Allowing apps, which are digitally signed and located in the program files to run organizations may help block the execution of ransomware variants.

4.      Foster Culture for Cybersecurity Awareness

Train your workers to identify malicious emails. Strange email addresses and grammar errors can be signs of ransomware attacks. So consider investing in a threat hunting platform and security awareness training solutions to properly deal with all the scam emails.

A malicious link is a popular lure tool of social engineering strategies and is present in SPAM messages or emails. That means you shouldn’t click on such links. This needs to apply to email attachments with a malicious JavaScript file, which can be in the form of readme.text.js.

Remember to as well reduce human mistakes. Inform your workers about all the possible ways ransomware attacks may happen and ask them to pay more attention to phishing emails.

5.      Protect Every Endpoint Device

Traditional antivirus technological advancements don’t always do a great job. And as those threats continue evolving, they won’t keep up. Organizations must ensure they properly protect every endpoint device using EDR (endpoint discovery and response) solutions as well as other technological developments.

In the environment facing threats, advanced attacks may take seconds or minutes to compromise all endpoints. First-generation EDR tools can’t keep up since they need manual responses and triage. They are not just slow for lightning-fast threats these days. They also generate a high volume of alarms, which burdens overworked cybersecurity staff.

However, next-generation EDR solutions normally deliver real-time and advanced threat intelligence, protection, management, analysis, and visibility for endpoints.

With a customizable playbook, these solutions may defuse and detect potential threats to help prevent malware infections and reduce attack surfaces.

6.      Include Remote Employees in Ransomware Prevention Strategies

The global pandemic, Covid-19 normalized hybrid work models where many employees work from home. This changes security dynamics, giving cybercrooks a head-start. But specific measures and approaches turn the tables on cybercriminals who exploit remote employees.

One of the popular ones is using security Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Usually, VPNs extend the security of network perimeters to home offices. Secure VPN encrypts data, which is sent over an insecure Wi-Fi connection to prevent details, like login credentials or personal data, from getting intercepted by hackers.

Apart from VPNs, home offices must be assessed for security gaps, and this may include insecure home printers. On top of that, remote workers need to be offered enhanced security awareness training, which reflects their working environment.

7.      Work with Secure and Strong User Authentication

Cybercrooks mostly use RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) and other similar tools to have access to a company’s systems using stolen or guessed login credentials. Once they are inside, attackers may drop ransomware on your machine, encrypting files stored there.

This attack vector can be dealt with through a threat hunting platform and the use of secure user authentication. Enforcing strong password policies, educating workers about phishing attacks, and requiring the use of MFA (multi-factor authentication) are all important components of the cybersecurity strategies of an organization.

8.      Develop a Disaster and Incident Response Recovery Plan

In order to remediate quickly during stressful times, it would be best to create comprehensive plans for full-company response, investigation, communication, and post-incident triage.

The last thing you want is to be faced with unfamiliar situations with a ticking clock and looming threats. That is why you might want to invest in a response and detection solution, which offers a step-by-step and accessible playbook for various kinds of attacks that may guide the existing IT team through response processes.

This way, when faced with security situations, everyone on your team may know how to stop and contain threats faster, like isolating every affected system and taking all of them offline.

The Bottom Line!

As with all types of malware, the use of effective security software and careful action is the best way to combat ransomware. In order to get prepared for all these, you will require multi-layered approaches, which can stop every ransomware hacker at every stage of the cyberattacks.

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