Devin Partida writes about cyber security and technology. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com.
Ransomware attacks are one of the most pressing threats facing businesses today. Experts estimate there was one ransomware attack every 10 seconds in 2020, with attacks in some sectors jumping by 37%. In light of these rising threats, you need to ensure your organization is safe.
The sheer volume and potential destruction of these attacks can be intimidating, but you can successfully defend against them. With the proper cyber security infrastructure and practices in place, you can prevent most of these attacks.
Protection starts with understanding how cyber security measures are supposed to stop these threats. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at the role of cyber security in preventing ransomware attacks.
Generally speaking, two factors influence who a cyber criminal targets with ransomware; how valuable your data is and how vulnerable it is. Business and professional services are among the most targeted industries, since they typically deal with valuable data that may be unsecured. Similarly, you can prevent attacks by reducing how much sensitive information you store and removing potential entry points.
Part of robust cyber security is reducing what you have to lose in the event of an attack. The less sensitive data you collect and store, the less valuable a target you become. Consequently, your business should only gather what it needs to perform and should avoid collecting superfluous data.
Cyber security software can further minimize vulnerabilities by removing potential backdoors for ransomware to enter your system. Most of these attacks try to take advantage of human error through phishing or social engineering. An advanced email filtering system can flag and automatically hide or delete suspicious messages, stopping attacks before susceptible users see them.
Removing malicious programs
Even after you minimize your potential attack surface, ransomware can still slip through the cracks. Consequently, reliable cyber security systems also seek to find and remove malicious code from company devices. If you catch these programs early enough, you can take care of them before they execute.
Some organizations can afford continuously staffed cyber security control centers, but many can’t. Thankfully, modern cyber security software can provide continuous monitoring in place of human employees. Regular, automatic scans of your systems can help detect ransomware without a full IT security team.
Some anti-malware solutions now include machine learning capabilities. This enables these programs to learn the warning signs of an attack, making these scans more accurate the more you use them.
Mitigating ransomware’s impact
Robust cyber security can also mitigate the potential impact of a ransomware attack. Cyber criminals typically act to get money or cause destruction. So if you can minimize these outcomes, attacks against you become less appealing. If ransomware isn’t as effective against you, you’ll prevent future attacks by removing the motivation to do so.
You can find a wide range of decryption tools today to recover locked files from a ransomware attack. If you can get access to affected systems without paying a ransom, the attack fails and discourages future attempts. Since 92% of organizations that pay ransoms don’t get their files back anyway, this is a crucial step.
Having an automatic backup system in place will further mitigate the impact of a ransomware attack. If you have separate backups of compromised files, then cyber criminals won’t cause much disruption by encrypting the originals. This, in turn, renders a ransomware attack mostly harmless, leading to fewer attempts in the future.
Every business must protect against ransomware
Digital data has become an essential resource for businesses in virtually every industry. As you come to rely more on data, ransomware becomes more profitable, increasing the likelihood of an attack. In light of these threats, every organization needs to consider its ransomware defenses.
Ransomware may be intimidating, but you can take action against it. Robust cyber security systems will mitigate its impact and prevent attacks before they happen.