Ask anyone who works in IT what malware they consider to be the most likely to bring a company to stand still and you can pretty safely assume their answer will be ransomware. Although not a totally new concept, ransomware has become a major threat over the past couple of years.
Put simply, ransomware consists of a simple virus which, once on your company’s network, encrypts your files making them useless without the un-encryption key. To get this key involves transferring large sums of money to the perpetrators, and even then there’s no guarantee your data can be saved. Obviously, having a solid backup plan in place is essential to ensure you’re protected in the case of infection, but what can you do to avoid infection in the first place?
While it may sound simple, the most effective method for protecting against infection from ransomware is educating users. As with any virus, CryptoLocker and its variants require a vector in order to infiltrate your network, and the most common vector is illegitimate emails. Backed by the right information, users can learn to identify the common types of emails used to deliver ransomware, and by deleting them immediately, avoid infection altogether.
When CryptoLocker first reared its head in 2013 antivirus software was essentially useless, and understandably so due to the unusual nature of the threat. In the years since, antivirus developers have stepped up their game and implemented a number of novel features designed to prevent infection, and slow or even stop the spread once a network is compromised. With that being said, an antivirus suite is only effective when it is up to date, so be sure to update regularly - or better yet, use an antivirus program that utilises live updates instead of relying on a release schedule.
TALK TO THE PROFESSIONALS
If you think terms like ‘group policy enforced execution restriction’ and ‘least rights access management’ sound like a foreign language, you’re not alone. At the end of the day, most of the more technical solutions to preventing ransomware are going to require someone who is familiar with the tools and technologies required to get the job done. Luckily, Powernet is here to help, and while there’s never going to be a perfect solution, there are many steps that can be taken to ensure your company, and its data, has the best protection available.