Preventing Ransomware Attacks: Safeguarding Human & Machine Vectors
Ransomware is one of the most prolific malware threats currently in the digital world. Did you know that experts estimate that a ransomware attack will occur every 11 seconds in 2021 according to Cybercrime Magazine? These numbers are not going down any time soon. Ransomware attacks are actually up 148% during the pandemic. Knowing these statistics, businesses both large and small should take some serious proactive steps to prevent these attacks before the “screen of death” appears and your IT department is left piecing your network and data back together again.
What Is Ransomware?
Simply put, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.The Center for Internet Security states that, “Ransomware does this by encrypting files on the endpoint, threatening to erase files, or blocking system access. It can be particularly harmful when ransomware attacks affect hospitals, emergency call centers, and other critical infrastructure.”
Blocking Ransomware Before It Happens
One of the first things that an experienced IT team will tell you is that you need to create an incident response plan prior to an attack that will help your organization jump into action should an attack happen. This plan should include a rigorous backup plan and disaster recovery plan that is detailed and communicated to every employee in the chain of command. Beyond an incidence plan, every organization should examine two main areas of vulnerability including human and machine vectors to potentially prevent an attack that could have your data held hostage for days, weeks, or even months. Let’s take a quick look at both areas as an ounce of prevention.
Unfortunately in the world of cybercrime, humans are a huge vulnerability when it comes to data loss. Social engineering comes into play on a large scale in regards to ransomware. BackBlaze online states that, “social engineering is the use of deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes. In other words, people can be fooled into giving up information that they otherwise would not divulge.”Therefore, it is critical that you train your team on common human attack vectors including:
Phishing scams - used to trick people into clicking on a link or opening an attachment that carries a malware payload.
SMSishing, which utilizes text messaging to get an employee to open a malicious attachment or directs them to a fraudulent website.
Social media vulnerabilities such as those that convince a victim to open a downloaded image that can infect a user’s system/data.
Machine Vector Attacks
Outside the human vulnerability to ransomware, machines are equally vulnerable unless they are strongly protected. Machine vector attacks could be in the form of system vulnerabilities that would allow a cyber criminal to break in and install ransomware on the machine. This can happen to machines that do not have the latest security features or patches to software installed. Drive-by attacks and malvertising are also machine vector vulnerabilities that could leave your system open to ransomware. How protected is your data? Talk to our team here at Spectra Networks about a system evaluation or employee training to prevent a costly and aggravating ransomware attack in your company.