The aspect of offices and companies getting their data encrypted or inaccessible is not new. These practices have become frequent in Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Iran, and some other countries, according to recent statistics. India also has experienced ransomware issues in 2018. In a recent attack of ransomware in India, WannaCry was the perpetrator. These criminals generally target high profile organizations.
These attacks are increasing day by day. Though India is not experiencing as many attacks like any other countries, the possibility of ransomware is not zero. These attacks can create a massive loss for the company or the organization concerned. Social giant who holds the monopoly of social media is also getting affected. File-encrypting ransomware, known as Lock, is affecting the instant messaging platform.
For a small organization or company, there is less risk to get ransomware, but for high profile companies, it is of considerable risk. Due to the unavailability of the data, the company can experience severe loss, plus they also have to pay the ransom to the perpetrators. These attacks are becoming a headache for both the company and its customer. Linkedin is also affected by the same kind of attack, experienced by Facebook. It increases the risk of exposing potential victims to criminals. This will increase the incidents of ransomware by many folds in the present business environment.
It is essential to save ourselves from these attacks. There are many preventional steps which can help to avoid any potential attack. But before jumping into the ways of avoiding being a victim of this attack, let’s understand what ransomware is.
What is ransomware?
It is a malware which makes the content of the computer or laptop inaccessible to the owner. This malware attaches them to your computer and encrypts all the data present. In return for the data, it asks for your money. The payments these days are done in cryptocurrencies. It is difficult to track down a transaction in the cryptocurrency.
How does it work?
There are many ways which can allow malware into your computer. The most common way is through emails. Most interaction with the internet is done through emails. Almost everyone has an email address, even though they do not have a social media account. The culprit will send you emails which will have infected documents or links to the sites.
Even if you get affected by emails, then it not your fault entirely. These malspams are designed to look like a legitimate email, which lures the person to open it.
Another commonly used way for ransomware is malvertising. Malvertising, or malicious advertising, is an easy way to get attacked by ransomware criminals. While surfing the web or while accessing any website, we all see ads at different sections of the screen. Sometimes the page redirects to an advertising site. These redirections can sometimes lead to cybercriminals. They can record your computer details and design malware, especially for your computer. What makes this method dangerous is no requirement of human interaction.
How to be safe from these attacks?
These are many ways to avoid these attacks. Here are the top 10 ways using which you can use to avoid being a victim.
- Security awareness-
One of the best ways to prevent ransomware is to make the employees know more about computer security. Employees usually lack the awareness needed to avoid any kind of cyber attack. They should understand the use of extensions like ad blockers to avoid attack situations and never to open emails which look suspicious.
- Updates and configuration
It is difficult to make your system 100% safe from ransomware unless you have in-depth knowledge of cyber crimes. But you can make the insertion of malware harder for the criminals. Use the best antivirus. Keep both of your system and antivirus updated.
- Asset inventory
Asset inventory is the identification of any software or hardware. While organizing private or public cloud storage service, it is vital to know who is connected. Unaware of the suspicious presence can make you the victim of this attack. Always keep a real-time check on the devices connected.
- Continuous vulnerability assessment
Cybercriminals follow the least complicated path to infect your system. They figure out the vulnerable part of popular software. It is important to continuously assess the most vulnerable way you can be a victim. Security systems need to be cross-checked to ensure no easy way to access your system.
- Real-time traffic monitoring
It is essential to keep an eye on inbound and outbound connections. Cybercriminals can use both to gain access to your system. The best way is to stop the initial outbound from connecting to the ransomware’s connection.
- Intrusion detection
Detecting any kind of malware intrusion can also save your system. Suspicious updates to policies, unscheduled scans, and update failures, can be the signs of malware intrusion. It is better to make your system sensitive to malware. One of the ways is to use a firewall.
- File integrity monitoring
File integrity is like an alarm system, which will alert you if any unauthorized access or alteration is done to your file. As cybercriminals attack files and personal data, having an alert system will prevent data loss.
- Log monitoring and analysis
It is difficult even for criminals to completely erase their traces. These traces can be used to catch the culprit. Use security information and event management (SIEM) software to analyze system logs, app logs, and activity logs to figure out unusual behavior.
- Continuous threat intelligence
Cybercriminals always find new ways to attack the system. Even after cautious monitoring and analyzing, there is a chance that you still become the victim. In addition to this, it is difficult to adapt to new ways cybercriminals use. But with the use of AI, all these can be prevented.
- Backup and recovery
It is always a wise decision to have a backup. When your system gets affected by the malware, you can operate with the backup. On the whole list, this is the only after attack method. No matter how vigilant you are, there is always a chance of getting attacked.
These are the 10 best ways to avoid ransomware. Follow these to prevent any attacks on your system.