13 Things You Can Do to Prevent a Ransomware Attack

Dec 3, 2021

No matter the size of your organization, a ransomware attack is always something to prepare for and prevent.

 

What is ransomware? McAfee defines ransomware as “malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. A user or organization’s critical data is encrypted so that they cannot access files, databases, or applications. A ransom is then demanded to provide access.”

 

Ransomware is a way for cybercriminals to receive large sums of money for the data and information they steal. Unfortunately, the payments demanded can have harsh consequences for businesses, resulting in thousands and sometimes millions of dollars in damage.

 

If you’re looking to prevent a costly ransomware attack, here’s what you can do. 

 

Prioritize Backups

 

Backing up your data is one of the best ways to not only prevent a ransomware attack but minimize the risks should one take place.

 

When you back up your data and store it offline, hackers are unable to target it. And, when your data is stored somewhere where you can regularly access it, you won’t have to worry about paying a cybercriminal any kind of money to get it back.

 

Regardless of the system you use to back up your data, you’ll want to make sure it has embedded ransomware protection included. In addition, your data should be backed up on-site and off.

 

Block Pop-Ups

 

Pop-ups are a seemingly harmless addition to a website but are often where hackers can launch ransomware attacks. Instead of worrying about these pop-ups, install an add-on to block them entirely.

 

This way, you can visit different websites knowing that no ransomware will be popping up as soon as you log on. 

 

Use Strong Passwords

 

We can’t emphasize the importance of a strong password enough. The weaker the password, the easier it is for cybercriminals to access your account and steal your information.

 

Once they have this information, they can threaten you with a ransom or even sell it elsewhere online. This is why having a solid and unique password is crucial for each of your accounts.

 

Not sure what constitutes a good password? Take a look here. [link to password blog when published]

 

Watch Your Email

 

Countless phishing scams take place over email every single day. If you want to prevent a ransomware attack, avoid clicking on links or downloads in emails from senders you aren’t familiar with.

 

You’ll also want to avoid opening any email from a sender you don’t know or trust. If it looks slightly suspicious, don’t take the risk. Ransomware attacks can be avoided the more intentional you are about what’s hitting your inbox.

 

Establish Spam Filters

 

Though being cautious over email is a smart move, spam filters can help eliminate phishing scams from entering your inbox entirely. In addition, these filters will act as a guard against any scams or hackers that might attempt to send you a malicious link or download.

 

Train Your Team

 

One of your best defenses against a ransomware attack? Your team members. Cybersecurity awareness is fundamental when it comes to stopping hackers from stealing data and information.

 

When your employees know how to spot malicious emails, links, downloads, and websites, they’re able to avoid any cyber threats that might cause harm to your entire company.

 

Prioritize cybersecurity training throughout the year and whenever you onboard a new team member. All it takes is one lousy click, and your organization could be the target of a ransomware attack.

 

Be Careful of Your Downloads

 

Most of us are downloading different files or attachments daily. However, when downloading things from a site you don’t trust, you’re running the risk of downloading a virus that could have severe implications for your organization.

 

Instead, only authorize downloads from sites you trust. Ensure your employees know the importance of being mindful when it comes to every website they visit. 

 

Regulate Your Devices

 

If your employees use their personal devices at work and under your business network, it might be time to establish some ground rules. Chances are, unregulated devices don’t have the software and protections needed to prevent ransomware attacks, making them a huge risk to your organization’s safety.

 

With many teams working remotely, it can be tough to stay on top of cybersecurity and the devices used during work hours. Working with your IT provider to develop a policy surrounding these devices will prevent any attacks, accidental or not, from happening. 

 

Regularly Update Your Systems

 

When your devices aren’t running on the most updated software and systems, they’re left vulnerable to cybercriminals. Typically, each update comes along with new security patches that work to keep your information safe from hackers.

 

It’s essential for you and your employees to regularly update their devices, making it harder for hackers to exploit any security holes you might not be aware of.

 

Use a VPN

 

A virtual private network (VPN) is an excellent way to keep your information secure when using a public network.

 

VPNs encrypt any of your data that passes through the public Wi-Fi network. This way, you can access the internet without hackers being able to track your whereabouts. In addition, you won’t have to worry about your data being intercepted and held for ransom, as the VPN hides it.

 

Take the time to research which VPN is best for your needs. Then, send us a message if you have any questions, as not all VPNs do the same job. However, it may be worth the money to invest in a solid VPN to guarantee your privacy.

 

Prioritize Antivirus Protection

 

Having a robust endpoint security solution is critical if you’re looking to stop ransomware in its tracks. Your IT provider can help you install antivirus protection, which can help eliminate any malware or viruses from infecting your devices.

 

These solutions will install necessary updates, protect against malicious links and downloads, and alert you when a security risk is detected.

 

Enable Web Filtering

 

Web filtering solutions help prevent your team members from visiting websites where hackers might be waiting in the shadows. In addition, they’ll block viruses that can spread ransomware as well as any harmful links and files. 

 

These solutions make web browsing safer and prevent your employees from making any accidental mistakes regarding cybersecurity. 

 

Work With a Professional

 

Don’t sweat if your head is spinning thinking about all of the steps you need to take to prevent a ransomware attack. Our experts are here to answer your questions and get you the solutions you need.

 

It’s always best to work with a professional rather than approaching cybersecurity with a DIY perspective. Send us a message today and we’ll help put together a plan to stop ransomware before it takes hold of your organization.

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