7 Steps to Help Prevent & Limit the Impact of Ransomware
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7 Steps to Help Prevent & Limit the Impact of Ransomware

Ransomware attacks can happen on any organization, big or small. In the last few years, ransomware threats have increased significantly and can cause major damage to organizations. However, though they are common, it is not difficult to prevent them.   

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that is deployed to an organization’s computers through phishing attacks. The attackers send emails with malicious links or attachments that download the ransomware software when clicked on. This lets the attackers gain access to the organization’s systems. The attackers may ask for a ransom by threatening to erase files or leak critical information about the organization. 

How to prevent and limit the impact of ransomware?

Preventing ransomware requires the entire organization to work together. Here are the seven ways you can prevent ransomware and limit its impact. 

1. Developing policies and plans

Having a plan for ransomware attacks helps you stay prepared if there’s an actual attack. The plan must be elaborate and have defined communication and roles in case of an attack. You should also have a list of important people like clients and vendors to be notified immediately when there’s an attack. Also, create policies for suspicious emails so that employees can notify the IT team. 

2. Maintaining thoughtful backups

Having a backup for critical data can prove to be incredibly helpful in case of a ransomware attack. However, the backup files must be properly protected and stored offline so that the attackers don’t get access to the backup. Keep the backup updated and test it regularly to ensure efficacy. 

3. Keeping systems updated

Ensure that all the operating systems, software, and apps are always updated. Maintaining updated systems closes the security gaps that attackers can target to gain access. The best way to stay updated is to turn on auto-updates on all systems. 

4. Reviewing port settings

Some ransomware uses ports like Remote Desktop Protocol ports and Server Message Block ports to gain access. Review settings for these ports for on-premises and cloud environments and consider if you need to leave these ports open or give limited access to trusted hosts. 

5. Hardening the endpoints

Secure configuration settings can close security gaps from default configurations and limit the threat surface of the organization. It is important to have the systems configured by keeping security in mind. 

6. Implementing an IDS

An IDS or Intrusion Detection System compares network traffic logs to signatures that detect known malicious activities. If any potential malicious activity is detected, an IDS will immediately notify the organization. 

7. Training the employees

The best way to stay protected from a ransomware attack is to generate awareness about it in your organization. Conducting security awareness training for all employees in an organization helps prevent the risk of ransomware attacks through phishing. Employees should be told not to click on any suspicious links or attachments in their mail and notify the IT department if they receive any such emails.

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