Between deploying data backups and recovery plans to maintaining up-to-date antivirus software, there are a number of things companies and individuals should do to protect themselves from ransomware attacks.
The majority of cybercrime is caused by unsuspecting employees or individuals that aren’t well-versed in cybersecurity enough to know when to spot cyber threats in their tracks. With that, the best way people can protect themselves from ransomware attacks is by investing in reputable, routine security awareness training. Investing in training human capital is the best way to stave off ransomware attacks, since ransomware gangs are keenly aware that employees aren’t up-to-date on new and improving ransomware tactics. Ideally, the more hands-on training, cyber attack simulations, and pre- and post-training assessments the security training provides, the better equipped people will be when it comes to spotting ransomware in its tracks and the better informed companies are about their ransomware risk level.
Everyone should invest in anti-malware and antivirus software. Just as it’s important to invest in Cybersecurity awareness training, fortifying one’s network — ideally using a centrally managed solution — will both alert people of malicious activity, inform them of unresolved issues, and stop unauthorized forwards from executing.
Companies and individuals alike should store and maintain encrypted backups of data offline. Since ransomware attacks target backup data too, everyone should also maintain gold images of critical systems so that they’ll be prepared if they have to deploy software applications to rebuild a system.
In order to best prepare for a breach, individuals and companies need to establish a cyber incident response plan that outlines what to do in the instance of a ransomware incident. This plan should include everything from notification procedures to chain of command in the event of a crisis. In addition to establishing this plan, it’s important that people exercise and practice this plan, so that they’ll be better prepared for a real-life crisis should one ever arise.
Companies and individuals that routinely conduct vulnerability scans on their internet-facing devices are more protected against ransomware than those that don’t scan and address vulnerabilities within their systems. By updating software and OSs and ensuring that security features are enabled on all devices on a regular basis, people can limit their attack surface and proactively protect themself from threat actors.