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Stop Ransomware In Toronto

Ransomware is an ever-growing threat to millions of businesses globally. The attacks are getting more sophisticated and effective — wreaking havoc on victimized businesses.

Statistics show that:

  • Ransomware is the most common malware threat — targeting nearly all types of businesses and home users (Datto)
  • The leading tactics that hackers use to execute ransomware attacks are email phishing campaigns, software vulnerabilities, and (RDP) remote desktop protocol vulnerabilities (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency)
  • 1 in every 6,000 emails businesses receive have suspicious URLs that entails ransomware (Fortinet)
  • Enterprises face an average downtime of 21 days after a ransomware attack (Coveware)

In other words, every business has a formidable task of defending itself from ransomware attacks, but let’s start from the beginning.

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What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a file, a system, or a device until you pay funds — mostly in the form of cryptocurrency. Hackers use ransomware to encrypt corporate and private data at the endpoint, threatening to delete or deny system access.

For the most part, hackers make demands for the initial decryption key to recover your IT system or business data or can demand ongoing payments to prevent them from releasing your business data to the public or onto the dark web.

Since ransomware attacks are growing more aggressive and can bring any business to a grinding halt, you need to reevaluate your organization’s:

  • Cybersecurity defence
  • Operational procedures
  • Operational policies

The big question, however, is:

What measures can you take to stop ransomware attacks?

1. Back-Up Your Business’ Data

Having an up-to-date backup is the most effective way to defend your business against ransomware attacks. Backups secure your business’s uptime when an attacker infects your business’ data or system.

With a backup, all you’ll have to do in the event of a ransomware attack is to roll back to the previous version of your data and continue with normal operations. Regularly backup your business’ data offline or out-of-band where attackers cannot target.

Using cloud services to backup your business’s data is much better for the following reasons:

  • An attacker can’t compromise cloud backup easily
  • Restoring information is easier for business continuity
  • Cloud backup is enough defence against the devastating ransomware crisis

More importantly, backups are critical when the decryption of a ransomware infection is impossible. To ensure your backup is reliable, test your backups regularly to verify they aren’t infected.

2. Create Plans and Policies to Deal with Ransomware Attack

Your business can have a program to detect, prepare and respond to a ransomware attack incident. The plan should define procedures and communications your IT team share in the event of a ransomware attack.

Your plan can include:

  • A list of partners you should notify about ransomware attack incidents, including law enforcement
  • Having a suspicious email policy that trains workers on what to do when they receive an email they’re unsure about
  • Procedures to follow in case your business is under a ransomware attack

Plans and policies are crucial because they prepare your business’ response to successful ransomware attacks and help you resume operations quickly.

3. Check Your Port Settings

Nearly all ransomware exploits the RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) port 3389 and SMB (Server Message Block) port. Check if your business should leave these ports open and limit connections to only trusted hosts. Review the port settings for both cloud and on-premise environments.

For cloud environments, work with your cloud service provider to disable RDP ports your business isn’t using.

4. Keep Your IT System Up-To-Date

Hackers love software vulnerabilities.

An outdated program or operating system lacks the latest security patches, which presents a loophole where hackers can access your system.

Update your computers’ operating systems and programs regularly to get the latest security patches to cover the security loopholes. The latest security patches give cybercriminals a hard time when trying to exploit your programs or operating system vulnerabilities.

What’s more, updates reduce the number of exploitable entry points attackers use to run a ransomware attack.

The best practice is to turn on auto-updates so that your business can utilize the latest security patches.

5. Teach Security Awareness to Your Team

Training your team about cybersecurity is another effective way to stop ransomware.  After all, if your employees can:

  • Identify and react correctly to malicious emails
  • Use the business’ computers safely
  • Execute transactions safely, everyone will play a part in protecting your business.

You can create security awareness in your business by training everyone to:

  • Never click malicious links in spam messages or unknown websites. Instead, they can direct the emails to the IT support team. Clicking malicious links from your business’ computer can automatically download ransomware that infects your entire IT system.
  • Avoid opening suspicious email attachments because it can get ransomware into your system and give it control over your computers.
  • Stop using unknown storage media on business computers because a hacker might have infected it and leave it in an open place to entice an employee to use it on your system.
  • Only use known download sources to reduce the risk of downloading ransomware.
  • Use a standard account instead of an account with elevated privileges whenever possible.
  • Use VPN for sensitive transactions.

Creating security awareness and training programs ensures your employees have the skills to protect your business and enhance cybersecurity readiness.

6. Use an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) to Detect Malicious Activity

An IDS monitors your network or system for malicious activity. The software compares network traffic logs to known threats. An IDS can be a critical cybersecurity tool because it prevents many advanced threats from passing through your system.

Most importantly, if you implement IDS on top of a firewall, you’ll make it more difficult for a hacker to gain access to your network undetected.

7. Conduct Regular Vulnerability Scanning

Hackers constantly scan systems on the internet to identify unpatched systems for attacks. The global nature of the internet allows attackers to take advantage of vulnerabilities.

Even when a patch exists, a hacker can exploit the lag time between the security flaw becoming known and a patch being released to a given system. As a result, you need to execute regular scanning to reveal missing patches in real-time.

Tektonic Will Help You Stop Ransomware Attack in Toronto

Ransomware attacks can cripple any business, and the potential consequences can be worse for small and mid-sized businesses. Your business can lose access to its data, backups, and integral system that allows daily operation.

Nearly 40% of businesses that pay ransoms never get access to their data again. Meaning, you can’t ignore protection against ransomware. Your business needs proactive cybersecurity management services such as:

  • Data protection, including media files, documents, and programs
  • Phishing defence solution that stops even the most advanced identity deception
  • Recommendations anti-ransomware tools that stop ransomware before it can harm your files
  • Reliable backup that will ensure continuity of your business in the event of a successful ransomware attack

Tektonic will offer you the tech support your business needs to stop and defend you against ransomware attacks. Contact us today to secure your systems from potential malware and ransomware.

Thanks to my friends at Orion Networks in Columbia, MD for their help with this article.

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