Updated: Jul 11
Tips to ensure you’re not the next Ransomware Victim
Ransomware has become a buzzword. People seem to glaze over at the word.
We hear about it. We see scary statitistics about it. Is Ransomware real or just some technical fear-based sales strategy?
It feels like we need “special-forces” training to defend ourselves.
Let’s take a high-level look at an attack on a remote worker.
I placed an Amazon order and received an email that said there’s a problem with processing my payment. I have a deadline and I need that order to ship quickly. So, I clicked the link in the “Amazon” email to quickly resolve the payment issue.
I was in the middle of several high-priority tasks. While I knew in the back of my mind my payment method should have been fine, the email was timely. It looked and sounded authentic. I clicked without thinking. It caught me with my guard down.
Once I clicked, I was hit and paralyzed. My data was encrypted and I had absolutely no control. All my personal information was in the hands of some unknown attacker. All they wanted was payment. They didn’t care about my deadlines or my personal information.
Suddenly, Ransomware changed meaning. It was no longer a buzzword. It was panic. Ransomware became real and I was the victim.
How did I let it happen?
The Realization & Fear
Now I’ve really got a problem. I have deadlines, my laptop is locked and my data, and potentially my company network, has been compromised.
I can’t work. What do I do? Who do I call? Will I lose my job?
How do you help your employees avoid becoming the victim?
Ransomware is real. And, the cyber criminals don’t discriminate.
None of us are immune or fully protected from Ransomware. The well crafted emails are getting through SPAM and Anti-virus filters. The attackers are masters at socializing their way into our inbox.
The good news? Your employees can avoid becoming a victim.
It begins with having the right mindset. It’s what we call “Healthy Paranoia”. Never trust an email that asks you to click a link, click an attachment or enter personal information without first verifying the sender and the request. NEVER!
Did I say NEVER?
We’ve got to get better than the attackers’ best attempts.
Here are a few other best practices to help your organization prepare, anticipate and defend:
Develop & test a Ransomware Response Plan Ransomware is designed to infect your network and spread quickly. A delayed response can be the difference between stopping an attack or being fully compromised. If you’re not prepared to respond, it can be devastating. Make sure you have a Ransomware Response Plan, and you update it and test it regularly.
Make sure you have proper defense-in-depth Defense-in-depth means you have multiple lines of defense. Depending on technology is not enough. Threats vary, attacks can come from different angles and technology can be easily compromised. As your environment changes and threats evolve you will develop blind-spots. Understand your risks. Know your sensitive data and where it lives. Know who has access to your data. Educate your people. Segment your networks. Develop a diverse back-up strategy. Set up mitigating controls. These are a few ways to create defense-in-depth protection.
Continuously monitor your environment Cybersecurity is a practice, not an installation. Threats are evolving and attacks are becoming more sophisticated. Make sure you have advanced monitoring and detection in place. Don’t sit and wait. Anticipate the attacks. Conduct proactive threat hunting exercises.
Perform Threat Hunting as a regular practice Threat hunting is an essential, proactive approach to stopping attacks. When performed on a regular basis, and in combination with active, continuous monitoring, you will be able to identify irregularities and attacks before they compromise your environment.
Train, train, train Cyber security is the responsibility of everyone in an organization. Training is not a “one-n-done” effort. It must be a recurring initative across the organization. The most effective training is small bites of in formation on an ongoing basis with an emphasis on real life examples. Reinforce, reinforce and reinforce. Developing a “healthy paranoia” means you develop an instinct that helps protect you when your guard is down.
Don’t let the attackers win. Expect the unexpected. Be prepared!
If you need a guide for developing a ransomware response plan, you can download a free copy of our Ransomware Playbook here.
For a complimentary 2-hour Threat Hunting exercise in your environment, click here.