Ransomware Infecting Your Systems
Ransomware is one of the most serious cybercrime threats, and it gets more dangerous by the day:
- 500 schools have been hit by ransomware in 2019. In fact, 100 of those incidents took place just in the past month alone. A school in Flagstaff had to cancel classes early in the semester because they had to take their systems offline after being infected by ransomware.
- 22 different organizations in Texas, many of which are local government agencies, were recently infected with ransomware.
- Lake City recently shelled out nearly $500,000 to hackers so they could get their data back. Similarly, the Riviera Beach City Council just had to pay $600,000 for access to their data after a similar attack.
In a ransomware attack, an unsuspecting user clicks on a seemingly safe link or an emailed attachment that appears to be a bill or other official document.
Instead, the attachment installs a malicious software program (malware) onto the computer system that encrypts the data and holds it at ransom. The user is then stuck without access to their data, and faced with paying the attacker a huge sum.
How Does Ransomware Infect Your Systems?
There are five primary ways that hackers trick targets into downloading ransomware:
- Phishing: Phishing is a hacking technique that “fishes” for victims by sending them deceptive emails. Phishing attacks are often mass emails that include ransomware as an attachment.
- Malvertising: Hackers have found vulnerabilities in many popular, modern browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. They spam users with official-looking pop-ups informing them of an “infection” or “security alert” prompting them to download a file or click a link. That’s where the ransomware comes into play. As with so many of these methods, it just comes down to getting the user to interact with malware in some way without knowing it.
- Remote Desktop Protocol: RDP is a known infiltration point for cybercriminals, especially for unpatched systems.
- 3rd Party Remote: Many cybercriminals are attacking third-party remote-control tools as they know that once they can gain access to a remote control tool, they will have access to several machines that can be infected.
- Out Of Date Hardware: Many of the most common malware and viruses used by cybercriminals today are based on exploiting those programming flaws; to address this, developers regularly release software patches and updates to fix those flaws and protect the users.
How Can You Defend Against Ransomware?
The best way to defend against ransomware is to work with a Dayton IT support company like SureTec – our team can implement a range of cybersecurity protections that will keep your data protected and your practice in operation, no matter what happens:
Access Controls: Access controls should be configured so that shared permissions for directories, files and networks are restricted. The default settings should be “read-only” access to essential files, with limited permissions for write access to critical files and directories. Furthermore, only those needing local admin rights are to be provided with that access.
Firewall: Your firewall is your first line of defense for keeping your information safe. A firewall is a particular type of solution that maintains the security of your network. It blocks unauthorized users or suspicious connections from gaining access to your data. Firewalls are deployed via hardware, software, or a combination of the two.
Network Monitoring: Your IT company should be keeping an eye on your systems around the clock, identifying and suspicious activity and addressing it immediately to prevent any negative effects.
Data Backup: If you have you have a data backup solution, then it doesn’t matter if your data has been encrypted. You can just replace it with your backup, simple as that.
That’s why you should make a considerable investment in a comprehensive backup data recovery solution so that you can restore your data at a moment’s notice when necessary.
Be sure to:
- Back up data on a regular basis, both on and offsite.
- Inspect your backups manually to verify that they maintain their integrity.
- Secure your backups and keep them independent from the networks and computers they are backing up.
- Separate your network from the backup storage, so the encryption process is unable to “hop” networks to the backup storage device. This keeps your backup data from being encrypted.
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