Ransomware attacks are steadily on the rise across the globe. From small companies to giant multinationals to government entities, hackers target every system they can lay their hands on. Ransomware attackers typically use malware to block access to your system, data, or device until you pay them a ransom. They do that by encrypting files on the endpoint and then threatening to erase data or block system access. This guide highlights some practical ways to prevent ransomware attacks for your critical IT infrastructure.
How to prevent ransomware attacks
Defending against ransomware attacks takes a holistic, all-hands-on-deck approach involving your entire organization. Here are some crucial ways you can help stop attacks and minimize the effects of ransomware.
1. Never click on unverified links
Often, ransomware attackers send malicious links to your email address to initiate a click or download. Always avoid clicking links or downloading files on emails from strange addresses. By clicking on these malicious links, hackers can easily encrypt your data and hold it hostage until the attackers issue you a decryption key to grant access (of course, after paying a ransom). Additionally, be sure to verify the email address URL since some hackers will use pseudo addresses that look similar to what you already know.
2: Scan emails for malware
Invest in email scanning tools to help detect malicious software embedded in emails. Once the scanner has detected the malware, your email system will discard it and block it before it even reaches your email inbox.
3: Invest in a VPN server
VPNs (virtual private networks) are effective at enhancing your business’s online security by helping you remain entirely anonymous when using the Internet. Besides enhancing online security by keeping your information secure and encrypted, a VPN also enables you and your authorized employees to access that data remotely. With the right VPN solution, you can effectively hide your online identity and even bypass geo-restricted content.
A VPN typically works by connecting you via an encrypted virtual tunnel to the website you wish to browse. Since a remote VPN server creates the connection, the new server IP replaces your original IP address. And since the VPN encrypts all your browsing activities over the Internet, no entity can decrypt your personal data for malicious intent.
4: Get a reliable firewall on your network
Your network firewall is typically the first line of defense that can prevent ransomware attacks that attempt to access your payment terminal. It’s a security system that controls and monitors all outgoing and incoming network traffic based on your predetermined cybersecurity rules.
By properly configuring your firewall, it can easily detect if anyone is attempting to steal data from your network. It will automatically shut down the access and notify you that something unusual is happening. Additionally, your firewall protects your devices against malware and other online threats.
5: Keep systems up to date
Keeping all your organization’s operating systems, software and applications updated regularly will help close the security gaps that hackers often exploit. Whenever feasible, turn on auto-updates to ensure that the latest security patches are automatically updated.
6: Train your employees
As the saying goes, your system’s security is only as good as the weakest link, which is, unfortunately, the user. Therefore, always conduct cybersecurity awareness training to help prevent ransomware attacks as much as possible. When your employees can spot and avoid clicking on malicious emails, you can significantly protect the entire organization from ransomware attacks. Security awareness training typically teaches each member what to look for in emails before clicking on a link, image or download.
Ultimately, having a reliable managed IT service provider watching over your network 24/7/365 can help detect vulnerabilities, prevent ransomware attacks and mitigate cyber-attacks before they happen. WebHead delivers client-centric IT solutions to all areas of your business by providing insights, high-touch customer experiences and data-driven results. With our innovative digital solutions, you can highly improve the value of your offerings to your customers. Contact WebHead today to learn how we can help protect your business from data breaches and cyber threats.