Whether it is a small and medium enterprise (SME) or a large conglomerate, all companies are at risk of ransomware attacks. This malicious malware is installed by criminal hackers for financial gains, and it works by locking out organisations from their critical company systems and data until a ransom is paid.
If your business were to be hit by a ransomware attack, its daily operations would be severely hindered at best or be at a complete standstill at worst, leading to significant losses. As such, it is crucial for every organisation to ensure its cybersecurity system is well-maintained to prevent such incidents from occurring. Let us share what entrepreneurs can do to minimise their risk of a ransomware attack.
Security vulnerabilities to look out for
Security vulnerabilities within an organisation, both technical and human in nature, are often the primary causes of ransomware attacks. Let us share a few of the critical vulnerabilities you should look out for:
1. Your IT infrastructure contains outdated software
As infuriating and time-consuming as security patches can be, the updates they provide help keep systems within the organisation secure and well-protected against any vulnerabilities.
Companies are exposed to greater risks by running outdated software due to known exploits that are being targeted by malicious entities. By keeping your operating systems and other production software up to date, you are eliminating potential security loopholes that hackers can exploit.
2. Having inadequate backup systems in place
Backing up essential data is one of the most effective ways of quickly recovering from a ransomware attack. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that these backup files should also be well-protected and stored in a remote server or offline, making it virtually impossible for external parties to access.
3. Lack of a concrete cybersecurity plan to deal with ransomware attacks
No matter how robust the organisation’s security protocols may be, it is still prudent to develop an action plan that outlines the steps on how to deal with a ransomware attack. The plan should typically include defined roles and communication protocols to be shared when an attack occurs. Having one ensures that the IT security team knows what to do during such situations, and they can quickly respond to them.
How to prevent a ransomware attack
1. Instruct employees to avoid clicking on unsafe links
Employees are generally the first line of defence against ransomware attacks. By providing your workers with cybersecurity training, they are better equipped to spot malicious links and unsafe email attachments.
Furthermore, it does not hurt to remind your employees to practise good cybersecurity habits regularly. This is vital because disregarding the instruction can allow hackers to gain access to an employee’s computer and, consequently, the entire organisation’s IT infrastructure.
2. Regularly patch and update your software and operating systems
Regularly patching the software and operating systems of your company’s devices should be a mandatory requirement for everyone in your company, as these updates help to close publicly known security gaps that nefarious hackers can exploit.
Ideally, you and your employees should leave the auto-update setting on, so your organisation’s devices will install the security patches the moment they become available. If this option is not feasible, you can schedule an interval to update the devices manually to minimise disruptions.
3. Strengthen your endpoint system
When configuring your company’s IT infrastructure, it is best to do so primarily with security in mind. A keen focus on secure configuration settings can help to limit the company’s threat surface and close any security gaps that may be present in the default settings.
4. Develop a sound cybersecurity plan
Proper planning helps ensure that your cybersecurity team and staff know what to do in the event of a ransomware attack. When you have defined roles and protocols in place, the company stands a better chance of mitigating the damage caused by an attack, thus preventing it from spreading further.
5. Avoid using unknown USB devices
Just like how one would naturally question anything given to them by a stranger, your staff should also avoid using unknown USB devices in their workstations. Unless there is a way to confirm its legitimacy, the best course of action will be to hand it to the IT team and let them dispose of it properly.
As with other forms of malware, it is vital to ensure your company stays vigilant and maintains a robust cybersecurity infrastructure to prevent ransomware attacks from occurring. It is also advisable to invest adequately in cybersecurity measures, from establishing a secure network to enrolling your employees in various cybersecurity classes.
At BridgingMinds, we offer a vast array of cybersecurity courses to improve your employees’ cybersecurity awareness. With the guidance of our qualified instructors, you can rest easy knowing your workers will be equipped with the relevant knowledge they need to protect your company’s data from cyberattacks.