Ransomware Protection – Things you can do

by admin

Colonial Pipeline

Infrastructure is the backbone of every business.  Without it, transactions cannot be accomplished with the speed and accuracy needed in today’s world.  Financial ruin could await the company that is attacked by hackers demanding ransom for release of data required to conduct transactions.

The Colonial Pipeline attack was the highest profile attack in recent years.  However, these attacks occur every day.  Colonial ended up paying over $4.4 Million to the cybercriminals in electronic currency.  What can your company afford to spend? 

If this is not a budgeted item for you, safeguards can be implemented to limit the impact of such an attack.  Technical safeguards and training your staff can go a long way to protect your business.  Some things to consider making it harder for an attack to be successful are outlined below.

  1. Check your passwords.  Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to make sure your passwords are not easy to discern.  Longer passwords or better yet phrases with 12 or more characters are a great choice.  Change your passwords at least yearly.  This is particularly important for administrative passwords.
  2. Use MFA.   MFA stands for Multi Factor Identification.  Without going through a second authorization step, having a password will do a hacker no good.  Access will only be granted after a code is input that is received on a secondary device, usually a mobile phone.
  3. Make sure you have a BDR plan.   If you do experience an attack, having a disaster recovery plan (along with a business continuity plan) is a key factor in limiting follow on damage to the original breach. These plans outline how a business is to operate and recover during an IT service disruption as well a procedures on how to respond to a disaster, power outage. Cyberattack or other events.
  4. Patch critical systems.  Updates for servers and other network equipment are musts to keep your protection strong.  Patches released by Microsoft should be installed every month as soon as they are available.  Failure to do so may leave openings in your systems that can be exploited by a hacker.
  5. Make Work from Home Security a Priority.  Remote workers and their access must be done via a secure gateway or application.  Using MFA as noted above is a big help in this regard.  If you are currently not utilizing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) you are vulnerable, as cybercriminals typically will attack businesses through this path.  Implement this feature as soon as possible for remote protection.
  6. Keep virus protection up to date. Crypto viruses can be very destructive and can also hold your systems for ransom.  Good anti-virus protection should be in place on every device that touches your network.  Alerts should be monitored by your IT team so threats can be evaluated and dealt with as necessary.
  7. Have a backup strategy for your data.  A tested back up strategy must be included in your IT solutions.  Having recent backups that are secure is the best defense against problems on our network.  This data, if properly protected, can not be encrypted by hackers.  It will also allow your business to recover quickly in the event of an event causing operational or IT outages.
  8. Staff Security Training.  All of your systems can easily be compromised by the human factor.  It is critical that your employees understand how attackers work, what they do and how they can prevent them from gaining access to your systems.  Regular training via video and testing can bolster your companies ability to combat cybercrime

Think Unified’s team are experts at keeping your business secure and always operating.  We can develop the necessary solutions, plans and procedures for your company to reduce your cyber threat exposure and keep you Working, Connected, and Protected.

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