Every day more businesses are caught off-guard by ransomware attacks and forced to pay a ransom. Read on to learn how to protect your business.
Modern-day businesses are up against the highest cybersecurity risks. Cybercriminals use various advanced methods and tactics to attack businesses of all sizes, and in every successful attack, they generate tons of money. Meanwhile, victim businesses are left to handle monetary costs and reputational damages.
In an era where cybersecurity risks are so high, businesses need the option of being prepared for cyberattacks. Nowadays, all sizes of companies need to implement up-to-date security solutions that will help them fight cyber attacks and mitigate modern security risks. Also, understanding cybersecurity threats and how they occur is vital for combating cyberattacks. This article will explain the second most used cyber attack type, “ransomware,” and how to protect your business against these attacks.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of malware, and it is malicious code that is constructed to infect target machines’ systems and data storage. When businesses’ systems and networks are hit by ransomware, it encrypts their data storage and makes these inaccessible to authorized parties. Afterward, cybercriminals demand ransom to decrypt the data they possess. These types of attacks are incredibly disruptive, and even if businesses agree to pay the ransom, cybercriminals can still leak or sell the data on the black market. Simply, ransomware attacks put victim businesses’ data storages future in the hands of cybercriminals.
Until 2019, ransomware attacks weren’t so advanced and disruptive, but later, some criminal ransomware groups developed Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) products and made these accessible for purchase. This way, even amateur cyber criminals were able to execute ransomware attacks on businesses and generate revenue from these attacks. That’s why during the last three years, there was a drastic increase in ransomware attack rates. In the first half of 2022, there were 236 million ransomware attacks globally.
But, the reported numbers can be lower than actual ransomware statistics because CISA authorities state that only one-fourth of the ransomware attacks are reported to the government. This is mainly because victim businesses usually prefer to settle with cybercriminals and don’t want to involve the government as they fear there might be fines and penalties due to the incidents.
How Cyber Criminals Execute Ransomware Attacks?
Cybercriminals use various channels to execute ransomware attacks. They can implement ransomware into emails, websites, or applications. Simply, employees can encounter ransomware during their time on the internet and unintentionally download ransomware when they click malicious email attachments or visit malicious websites that have ransomware.
Also, cybercriminals can use more traditional methods and implement ransomware into USB flash drives. Cybercriminals purposely leave USB flash drives in public places and hope someone will find and use them. So, when an employee plugs a malicious USB flash drive, it can infect corporate systems and networks. In another example, cybercriminals can use compromised user credentials to access their target networks and install ransomware on their IT assets. Shortly, ransomware attacks are pretty common, and every day more businesses are caught off-guard by these attacks and forced to pay a ransom.
How To Protect Your Business Against Ransomware Attacks
1- Use A Good Business VPN
Investing in a good Business VPN can help businesses reduce the risks related to ransomware attacks, but they aren’t made for preventing ransomware attacks. Business VPNs work by creating private tunnels between employees and corporate resources. This way, VPNs establish secure connections. Also, they encrypt all data transfers end-to-end and accomplish robust data protection, but they don’t prevent users from accessing malicious websites or downloading malicious links and attachments. In this regard, corporate VPN features can only help your business mitigate security risks by making your employees’ activities and online presence less visible and unexploitable to cybercriminals. For instance, when employees use unsecured Wifi connections, cybercriminals can’t use packet sniffing on them as VPN will make their connection private and secure.
2- Employ Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
To combat ransomware, businesses need security tools that will enable the broadest network visibility and monitoring, and the Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) framework delivers this and goes beyond. Zero Trust is a holistic network security framework that is built upon the mantra “never trust, always verify.” It always assumes that all entities are dangerous and demand constant authentication via multi-factor authentication (MFA) tools. This way, it eliminates the core risks associated with compromised credentials.
Also, it has the least privilege access principle that limits users’ access within the network perimeter. Meaning that employees can’t access anything beyond their access privileges. On top of these, Zero Trust uses network segmentation and separates corporate resources, and doesn’t allow employees to move laterally. This way, when an attack occurs, it traps threats to a single segment and stops them before spreading to other segments. Shortly, Zero Trust secures users, devices, networks, and applications against all kinds of cyber threats. That’s why implementing this framework can help businesses fight ransomware attacks and prevent them.
3- Backup Your Data
The best practice to fight ransomware attacks is to back up your data regularly. If possible, you should do daily backups. Also, you should back up your data on an external hard drive and hold it offline. This way, during a ransomware attack, you’ll be able to restore your data without paying a ransom to the cybercriminals.
4- Train Your Employees
Training your employees is as vital as implementing up-to-date security solutions. Because human error is a significant factor in ransomware attacks, your employees must be aware of malicious emails, links, and websites. By giving cybersecurity training to employees, you can raise awareness for common forms of cyber attacks and promote a secure and safe work environment. Also, during these courses, employees can fully understand your security policies and procedures and their importance. This way, employees can be more eager to follow your security policies and be more aware of potential cyberattacks.
Simply, to prevent ransomware attacks and mitigate security risks, your employees must adhere to your security policies. Also, your employees must be able to identify malicious websites, sources, or attachments and avoid clicking malicious links, downloading attachments, or visiting malicious websites. In the long run, you can benefit from these cybersecurity courses as they help you build a secure work environment.
Ransomware is malicious software that is constructed to disrupt a target machine system’s functionality, hold the target’s data storage hostage, and make them inaccessible to authorized parties. Ransomware attacks are pretty common, and every year, these attacks continue to grow exponentially. Today, all sizes of businesses can be hit by a ransomware attack. That’s why implementing the right cybersecurity solutions, and training employees are critical.