Now hiring tech mentors in Data Science, Data Analytics and Salesforce experts

7 Issues Cybersecurity Experts Need To Solve To Beat Ransomware Before It Strikes

how to beat ransomware before it strikes
Cyber Security / Data Security

7 Issues Cybersecurity Experts Need To Solve To Beat Ransomware Before It Strikes

Cybersecurity threats are no jokes. Globally, the damage costs of ransomware over the last few years have exceeded $5 billion.

Knowing how to beat ransomware before it strikes is critical because once you are hit, it’s too late to protect yourself.

As a cybersecurity student or expert, you need to understand how to go about handling ransomware, or better yet, what you need to do to protect yourself or your organization.

If you are working for an organization and you are responsible for keeping the organization safe against ransomware, you must devise ways to safeguard the organization’s resources and data.

For that to happen, we will review some of the key issues that cybersecurity experts need to address and solve to beat ransomware before it strikes.

But first, a brief introduction and history.

What is Ransomware and How Does it Occur?

The definition of ransomware is wrapped up in the name itself:

It’s malware that holds a person’s or company’s data hostage until they pay a ransom to gain access to it.

Basically, ransomware is malware that hold’s your data or an organization’s data (files, etc.) hostage until you pay a form of ransom (usually money) before you can access your data again.

In most cases, the data is always encrypted and once you pay (and should the attackers decide so), they decrypt the data so you can access it.

Over the years, the rate of success of people and organizations that pay the ransom to get their files back has generally been declining.

The most common forms or means of spreading ransomware include fake apps, infected websites, malicious links in SMS, emails. A new form of spreading malware is via malvertising or malicious ads.

Once infected, the ransomware can encrypt your data and/or require a key to decrypt, lock your operating system, and in networked cases, spread to other PCs on the network.

The ransom demanded is usually money which they majorly receive through Bitcoin payments because it’s the hardest transaction to trace and follow the money trail.

Also, attackers normally offer a very limited time frame to pay the ransom or you risk losing your data forever. Even the FBI once admitted that the best thing to do is just pay the ransom as the ransomware is normally well coded.

So, as a cybersecurity student or expert, what issues must you resolve to be safe?

How to beat ransomware before it strikes

We explain 7 tricks on how to beat ransomware before it strikes.

Backup Everything, Daily!

This is a golden rule. If your files change significantly daily, you have no option but to run daily backups.

If there are hardly any changes daily, then you can opt to run backups weekly or a day you feel a lot has changed.

This way when you have to restore a backup after a severe data breach, you won’t lose so much.

Also, it’s a good practice to store your backup away from the network or somewhere safe in the cloud.

Email Screening for Suspicious Links or Ads

Phishing is majorly promoted through emails and most ransomware is also delivered via email.

If you constantly screen your emails for phishing links or ads, you stand a high chance of noticing a ransomware attack before it happens.

Also, avoid the temptation to click links in emails you don’t understand. This should be a company-wide policy.

Install an Antivirus Firewall

Investing in a firewall is one of the safe ways to stay away from ransomware attacks. However, even this is not 100% guaranteed to protect you.

If you are flexible on a budget, go for the best package available or a combination of the best you can. Data breaches are way too expensive.

Invest in Security Awareness Training

There’s a very high probability that a data breach will happen due to human error.

If you are in charge of the IT department, do your best to implement security awareness training. Most employees may not be able to decipher a deceiving link or know what adverts are real or are for malvertising.

Apply Security Patches to All of Your Applications

The first-place attackers look out for vulnerabilities is in your third-party plugins, add-ons, and apps.

Ensuring that your applications are patched reduces the chances of attackers exploiting vulnerable apps to hit you.

Ensure also that all applications are up to date or patched to reduce chances of penetration.

Whitelist Computer Applications

Although many people would opt for blacklisting of software, whitelisting means you only allow a specific set of software to be installed while blocking everything else outside the whitelist.

For systems with all the applications and software it needs, you can simply block the possibility of installing more software on it.

For those still able to install, you can use ad-blockers and script-blockers to filter out ads, java, and flash applications.

Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is your ticket to a quick and successful recovery from an attack. Having it allows you to spring into action much quicker during an emergency to a hailstorm and increases your chances of making a successful recovery with limited damage.

Examples of items included in a DRP are immediate shutdown of the entire organization’s network, shutting down Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, etc. Other ideas include paying the ransom if it’s the last option or shutting down the entire system and deleting the affected files before you can restore your backup.

Lastly, it’s imperative to train all employees on your DRP and make it readily available.

Are you looking to become a cybersecurity expert?

And just like that you now understand how to beat ransomware before it strikes. If you wish to join the cybersecurity industry and are not sure where to begin, here’s a perfect place to begin- enrolling for our cybersecurity career track training.