How To Protect Against Ransomware
How To Protect Against Ransomware

7 Ways to Stop the Worst Cyberthreat

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, global ransomware damage costs are expected to approach $5 billion in 2017, up from $325 million in 2015.

Things are only going to get worse…

“While ransom victims are increasingly paying Bitcoin to hackers to recover their data, total ransomware attack costs are increasing,” said Steve Morgan, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Cybersecurity Ventures. Ransom payments are thought to be the least expensive of all damage contributors.

“The ‘clean up’ for enterprises touched by WannaCry will be tremendous,” said Mike Fey, president and COO of Symantec. “Months of recovery time for IT departments and multi-millions of dollars in costs for the victims.”

Businesses can’t afford to lose millions of dollars, much less weeks or months of downtime.

Once your computer systems have been assaulted, it is too late to secure them.

Before you become a victim of one of the deadliest IT security dangers in recent history, you must equip your organisation with techniques to guard against ransomware today.

To assist you avoid data loss and secure your business, we’ll go over some of the most common ransomware threats to be aware of, as well as some effective ways to defend against them.

Let’s start with a basic understanding of what ransomware is and how it can take over your computer systems.

What is Ransomware, and how does it work? What causes it to happen?

The definition of ransomware is found in its name:

Until the ransom is paid, this spyware holds company or individual data hostage.

Infection can take various forms.

  1. An email message with a malicious link
  2. Websites that are infected
  3. Apps that are not real
  4. Malvertising is the term for deceptive advertising.

Once your computer has been compromised, ransomware is a malware that encrypts all types of files.

It can encrypt and lock your data with or without keys, share it across a network, and even encrypt your files.

Because Bitcoin is tougher to track and follow, hackers frequently request payment in Bitcoin to get your data back.

Ransomware has another distinguishing feature: you will be given a set amount of time to pay the ransom, or your data will be permanently gone.

According to a post from the Security Ledger, the FBI recommends paying the ransom merely because the ransomware is so good. Joseph Bonavolonta, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s CYBER and Counterintelligence Programs in Boston, made this remark.

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If the FBI orders you to pay the ransom, you must do everything you can to prevent becoming infected.

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequent ransomware variants to see how you can protect yourself.

5 Dangerous Types of Ransomware

You should be aware of the following five well-known, active, and serious ransomware attacks.

WannaCry

WannaCry was a ransomware attack that wreaked havoc on the world in May of 2017, infecting over 200,000 systems in 150 countries.

WannaCry takes advantage of EternalBlue, a Microsoft Windows exploit developed by the National Security Agency.

It operates similarly to other ransomware. Encrypt your files and issue a ransom notice with a payment deadline.

While it was successfully prevented, it was followed by worse versions that used a similar Server Message Block (SMB).

UIWIX

UIWIX infects devices, spreads via networks, and scans the internet for more victims using the same SMB vulnerability that WannaCry used (EternalBlue).

Because UIWIX is not a fileless virus, it differs from WannaCry.

Fileless infections are potentially more hazardous than file infections since they lessen malware’s footprint. As a result, detection is extremely tough.

UIWIX is also more discrete.

If it discovers itself in a virtual machine (VM) or sandbox environment, it will cease trying to catch you.

If you don’t pay the ransom, it will add the.uiwix extension to all of your infected files and provide you a.txt file named _DECODE FILES.txt with instructions on how to get your data back.

Petya

Petya is a type of ransomware that doesn’t encrypt files one by one on a system. Computers are rebooted, the master files table (MFT) is encrypted, and the master boot record is rendered useless.

Until the victim pays the ransom, the computer will not be able to start up again.

Cerber

According to Cybercrime Tactics and Techniques Q1 2017, Cerber has tremendous market dominance in the first quarter of 2017, with about 90% market share by the conclusion of the quarter.

Cerber is notorious for being spread via malicious email links. This link will take you to a hacker-controlled Dropbox account where you may download a self-extracting archive that will give you complete control over your machine.

CryptoWall

Cryptowall has progressed from version 3.0 to version 4.0, and it is exceedingly dangerous.

It is run as a business by its developers.

They are always working to improve their code in order to make it more profitable and efficient.

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They are constantly one step ahead of the game. Security trends in IT

They have used a number of social engineering strategies to force their victims to pay ransom.

CryptoWall and its spread have shown that there is a thriving black market for ransomware vendors and purchasers, according to law authorities.

This is a clear sign that ransomware should be avoided at all costs.

Here are some strategies for preventing cyber-attacks on your business.

7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Ransomware

Every day, backup everything.

Every day, backup all of your data so that if an attacker demands $10,000 in ransom, you can rest assured that all of the data they just deleted or locked down is safe on another server they can’t access.

You must understand how to effectively back up your data.

Infiltrators of ransomware may gain access to your backup system by first gaining access to your machine and then worming their way through your network.

This involves backing up your data to the cloud or to a local storage device that isn’t immediately connected to your computer.

Only back up your data to an external device when you need to. Then instantly detach the drive.

Keep an eye on your email and avoid clicking on any questionable links or advertisements.

Because most ransomware is delivered by email, learning to avoid phishing is one of the most critical strategies to defend yourself from a ransomware assault.

As we noted before in this article, malvertising or malicious URLs included in adverts are another way to become infected with ransomware.

Keep an eye out for phishing emails, don’t click on adverts, and keep vigilant.

Install a firewall that protects you against viruses.

It’s critical to choose a firewall to protect against ransomware, but it can be difficult.

Despite the fact that there are numerous firewalls on the market, none of them can guarantee complete protection. They will, however, provide more protection than not having one.

After that, pick a firewall that fits your budget and network usage. Then provide IT security training to your personnel.

Make a financial investment in security awareness training.

In order to gain access to your data, hackers rely on the “human factor” more than any other component.

Despite the fact that your staff are not stupid, they may not take IT security as seriously as you do.

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Employees who receive security awareness training are more likely to be cautious and collaborate to avoid harmful links, phishing emails, and other dangerous online activity.

Patches should be installed on all of your applications.

Attempts at hacking and cyberattacks all aim to take advantage of flaws in third-party apps and plug-ins.

Hackers will be unable to gain access to your computer through flaws in the installed software if you patch your programme.

Java, Flash, Adobe, and so forth. To make them unbreakable, they must all be updated and/or patched on a regular basis.

White-listed applications

The installation of one piece of software is prevented via blacklisting. Whitelisting allows you to install a certain set of websites and programmes while blocking all others.

To begin, scan the system for any genuine apps. Then set up the machine to prevent new programmes from being installed.

To avoid advertisements, java, and flash apps on the internet, you can install an ad blocker and script blocker, and whitelist just those sites that you feel safe and acceptable.

Make a disaster recovery strategy.

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) can help you respond quickly in a variety of situations, from hacker attacks to hailstorms.

To protect yourself from ransomware attacks, you could add the following procedures in your DRP:

    1. Shut off any network connections to the organisation right away to prevent infection.
    2. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as soon as possible.
    3. Notify the FBI and your local authorities.
    4. You have two choices: pay the ransom or remove the infected data and restore them from a backup.

These and other actions would be included in a comprehensive DRP that staff would have access to in the event of an emergency.

Take Ransomware Defense to the Next Level

A professional IT security firm can assist you in ensuring that your disaster recovery strategy is correct, that your firewall is up to date, and that your workers are trained to avoid being phished.

A good IT security firm will work with you to identify solutions that fit your goals and budget. This will ensure that you have the appropriate level of security.

They will assess your security and make recommendations on how to improve it.

They’ll make sure you’ve got the correct investments in place to protect your finances.

This appears to be a win-win scenario. Here’s how to get it done.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.

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