You shouldn’t have to choose between cyber-extortion and losing precious data. By following a few simple tips, businesses and MSPs can drastically reduce the chances they’ll find themselves in that position. Read on to learn how you can proactively protect your business (and customers) from ransomware attacks, or download a copy of this list of ransomware prevention tips for later reference.
1. Deploy Reputable, Next-Gen Endpoint Security with AI
Having endpoint security to stop infections in the first place is vital. Look for solutions that use AI to predictively and proactively stop phishing and other threats, and which continuously monitor individual endpoints to roll local drives back to their uninfected state, in the event that a malware attack gets through.
2. Deploy Backup and Business Continuity Solutions
In the event that you experience a ransomware infection, the only recourse is to recover data quickly to minimize business downtime. Implement a secure backup solution and disaster recovery plan as soon as possible, and test your backups regularly.
3. Disable Unnecessary Services, like Macros, Scripts, and AutoRun
Many types of malware take advantage of macros, scripts, and AutoRun to infect systems or propagate themselves. While these services have legitimate uses in a business environment, they are often unnecessary; and can present a massive security risk. Disabling them is an easy way to help prevent ransomware infections.
4. Use Windows® Policies to your Advantage
You can use Windows® policies to mandate the use of strong passwords, enforce access privilege, and block certain paths and file extensions from running. You can set these up in groups, too, which will help in cases where different teams need different levels of network access or system functionality.
5. Keep Plugins, Applications, and Operating Systems Patched
Unpatched software, firmware, plugins, and operating systems are common attack vectors. Malware authors specifically target unpatched vulnerabilities in older Windows operating systems, Adobe® Flash Player, Oracle® Java, Microsoft® Silverlight, and many others. Keep them up to date, and disable/uninstall unnecessary apps and plugins where applicable.
6. Restrict Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Access
Criminals look for systems with commonly used RDP ports and attack them using brute-force tactics, hoping to break through weak usernames and passwords. Once they gain access, criminals can disable protection, deploy ransomware, and much more. By restricting RDP access, blocking it entirely, or simply requiring two-factor authentication, you can help close this security gap.
7. Educate Users
Plain and simple: phishing scams are still a threat because people still fall for them. Hackers prey on our human curiosity, trust, naïveté, negligence, and greed to get malware into networks. Providing training and phishing simulations will help you create a security-aware culture so your users (and business) can more effectively prevent ransomware.