Top Tips for protecting your business against Ransomware

With the recent cyber attacks that brought many businesses to its knees in over 150 countries, we’d like to try and help spread some knowledge on how you and your business can stay safe.

What is Ransomware?

As mentioned in this article, Dangers of Ransomware, Ransomware can come in several different guises.  However, the two main popular ones are the lockscreen, which lock your screen and you are denied access to your information until payment.  Or the Encryption (cryptoware) which encrypts all your data until payment.

Both types of ransomware usually request payment in the form of Bitcoins, once received you are promised an unlock key to get all your information back.

Should I pay up?

If you are unlucky enough to become a victim of Ransomware, you should not pay to get your information back, in most cases you will not get your information back.

Have you need infected by Ransomware?

From the NCSC website:

If you need to know more about ransomware and its effects, or you have a ransomware issue, there are a number of sources of further advice and guidance:

  • The National Crime Agencyencourages anyone who thinks they may have been subject to online fraud to contact Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk.  It is a matter for the victim whether to pay the ransom, but the NCA encourages industry and the public not to pay.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre(NCSC) runs a commercial scheme called Cyber Incident Response, where certified companies provide crisis support to affected organisations.
  • The Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP)offers organisations in the UK a safe portal in which to discuss and share intelligence that can assist the community and raise the UK’s cyber resilience. We encourage our members to share technical information and indicators of compromise so that the effects of new malware, and particularly ransomware, can be largely reduced. 

Top tips

Ensure all applications and Operating Systems are kept up to date

First and foremost, having up to date applications and Operating Systems, will help circumvent a lot of the ransomware that is out now.  Ransomware usually takes advantages of vulnerabilities in software and infects you this way.  Keeping things up to date will close these holes and reduce the amount of vulnerabilities.

Install and configure anti-virus and anti-malware (including firewalls)

One of the first lines of defence in protection of your business and computers, is having a firewall and anti-virus/anti-malware in place.  This protection will allow you to detect, analyse as well as block any threats that attempt to come into your computer.

Always make sure that your anti-virus/anti-malware software is kept up to date, that your scanning options are enabled to scan on-access as well as perform regular scans.

Backup

People always seem to forget about backups, make sure you backup all your data, and have it backed up to an offline device or area.  A lot of the newer ransomware variants looks for backup file shares that are accessible on the network and can encrypt those.

Make sure that you also test your backups on a regular basis, there’s no point in having backups if they don’t work when you restore.

Security awareness

Have a security awareness procedure in place for all your staff members.  Educate people not to click on email links, if they don’t know who the sender is.  Additionally, ensure that people don’t go clicking on links or websites that they know are not completely safe.

Security policies

Having security policies in place will ensure that the business is doing its best to ensure that protections are put in place to safeguard the business and its users.  You will also need to educate staff to ensure that they know what is requested of them.

Complex passwords

Make sure people use complex passwords, password length should be a minimum of 8 characters and make use of upper, lower characters, special characters and numbers.  People should make use of password managers to ensure they don’t write down their password.

Make use of two-factor authentication for sites that allow it, this ensures that a second form of authentication is required to log into a site.

Block popups

A lot of the times, malware is distributed specially crafted webpage popups that get the user to click on them, having a popup blocker gets around this.

Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are specially crafted emails that look like they are from your bank, DHL, amazon and more, however they get the user to click on a link and will out their bank information.  Once this is done, money is transferred from the account without the persons knowledge.

Cyber security standards

Invest in cyber security standards such as Cyber Essentials or ISO 27001 to ensure that your business is doing everything it can.  TeraByte are Cyber Essentials certification bodies and can help you through this process.

Turn off, if suspicious activity is found

Lastly if you suspect that your business has been compromised, turn off to safeguard your information and think, before doing anything hastily.

More information

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/ransomware-guidance-home-users

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-your-organisation-ransomware

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/ransomware-guidance-enterprise-administrators

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