How to Defend Against Ransomware and Data Extortion

employee using ransomware prevention tools on computer

It’s a typical work day as you walk into the office. You go to open your computer, confused as to why it won’t turn on, only to find out that you have been the victim of a ransomware attack. Not only has your data been encrypted and held for ransom, but personal information and trade secrets have also been stolen. The damage caused by ransomware and cyber extortion can be devastating for any business.

Fortunately, there are steps that businesses can take to protect themselves against these threats—let’s keep you out of this situation.

How to Protect Yourself Against These Threats

There are tools available that can help with ransomware prevention and cyber extortion. Here are some of the most effective tools and strategies to consider:

Maintain Offline and Encrypted Backups

These backups create a secure version of your data that can’t be impacted by the ransomware attack itself or any efforts made during cyber extortion. Staying up to date with this practice ensures that you don’t lose important information in the event of an attack.

Create and Maintain a Cyber Incident Response Plan

In case of an emergency, a plan can be your saving grace—it should include basic information such as potential threats, steps to take for ransomware prevention, what to do when an attack occurs, and who has the authority to make decisions during the response process. Regularly exercise your plan so that all employees are prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an attack.

Implement a Zero-Trust Architecture

A zero-trust architecture is a security system that doesn’t rely on any single factor for authentication or authorization. Instead, it uses multiple layers of verification protocols (such as strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, biometrics, etc.) to ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive data and keep cyber criminals out.

Conduct Regular Vulnerability Scans

Not checking your most vulnerable security holes gives the green light to cyber criminals. In 2022, it was reported that 19% of software scanned had high or critical-severity vulnerabilities. Who’s to say your system isn’t one of them? Regular scans will allow you to address these vulnerabilities before an attack occurs.

Patch Software and Operating Systems Regularly

A simple patch can be the difference between being breached and staying safe. Outdated software is a gateway for cybercriminals, and it’s essential to stay up to date with security patches.

Implement Phishing-Resistant MFA

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security system that uses two or more factors to prove the identity of users attempting to access a system. As a simple way to add more security to your system, phishing-resistant MFA can help protect against malicious actors.

Implement Identity and Access Management (IAM) Systems

IAM systems provide granular controls over user identities, roles, and privileges, allowing you to grant access only to those users who require it. This type of system makes it much more difficult for malicious actors to gain unauthorized access to your data, thus helping to protect against cyber extortion attempts.

Consider Third Parties or Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

MSPs can make a world of difference if you don’t have the time or resources to implement these security measures yourself. The ransomware prevention plus other protective measures they put in place are unmatched when you have the right MSP.

What to Do If Your Business Is In Danger of Ransomware and Data Extortion

If you have identified that your business is at risk of ransomware or data extortion, there’s no time to waste—take these immediate steps to mitigate the threat:

  • Detection and Analysis: Once a threat has been identified, it’s time to analyze the event to determine how the breach occurred. This includes examining system logs and security events for evidence of malicious activity and collecting network traffic data.
  • Reporting and Notification: After detecting a potential cyber attack, don’t wait to report it. It’s important to contact the necessary authorities (such as law enforcement) and notify affected customers, employees, and other stakeholders once an attack has been identified.
  • Containment and Eradication: Developing a containment strategy is key to preventing the attack from spreading further. This includes shutting down affected systems, disconnecting from networks, or blocking malicious IP addresses. And then eradication—this involves removing any malicious files, rolling back changes made by the attackers, and restoring systems to their pre-attack state.
  • Recovery and Post-Incident Activity: After a successful containment and eradication of an attack, data recovery can begin; restore backed-up data from secure sources and conduct a thorough investigation into the breach to prevent future attacks.

Partner with adrytech—An IT Provider You Can Depend On

Ransomware and data extortion attacks can be devastating, but with the right ransomware prevention, it doesn’t have to become a reality. 

With adrytech’s outsourced IT services, you can trust that your organization will benefit from quality protection against cyber threats—keeping your business safe and secure. Contact our cybersecurity experts today to experience protection for yourself.