5 Ways to Minimize Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks continue to be one of the most prevalent cyber threats. Cybercriminals target local governments and schools with ransomware attacks, putting public services and education in jeopardy.
Government agencies and educational institutions are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to ransomware. These organizations can’t afford to pay a ransom or remain shut down while trying to recover their systems and data.
Ransomware has affected California school districts by blocking access to critical systems, causing widespread interruptions of remote learning for students. That’s why today’s organizations need to find ways to avoid falling victim to ransomware and minimize the effects when they do occur.
Here’s an overview of 5 tips you can follow to lessen the chance of ransomware attacks:
1. Endpoint Security
Endpoints, such as the devices remote government employees and students use to do their work, can serve as vulnerable entry points for ransomware. When using their laptops, tablets, or smartphones, employees and students may visit suspicious websites or unwittingly click on links and attachments in emails that are infected with malware.
Endpoint security uses threat intelligence to detect malware and prevent it from infecting agency or school district systems through endpoints and spreading across the network.
2. Identity and Access Management
A Zero Trust approach to security keeps ransomware from gaining access to data and applications by requiring that the authority of every access attempt be verified. Identity and access management is the cornerstone of Zero Trust.
With identity and access management tools, such as multifactor authentication (MFA), your organization can control access to company assets using policies that grant authority based on job level.
3. Network Monitoring
Network monitoring identifies suspicious traffic patterns that can be associated with malware strains, such as ransomware. The network should be monitored 24/7/365 so that any malicious activity can be detected and responded to before it can cause significant damage.
When armed with threat intelligence, network monitoring can be used to identify the signatures of known threats and use signatures of emerging threats to prevent future attacks.
4. Security Awareness Training
Phishing emails are the most common attack vector for ransomware. Hackers use social engineering to send infected emails that seem to come from a co-worker or authority figure. Unsuspecting employees and students then click on an attachment, infecting the organization’s system with malware.
Security awareness training teaches employees and students proper email etiquette, such as how to identify and handle suspicious emails safely.
5. Next-Generation Firewall
Organizations need a next-generation firewall (NGFW) to defend against ransomware attacks in today’s hybrid workplace environments, which test the limits of traditional firewalls. NGFWs inspect incoming and outgoing network traffic to detect any anomalies that might be attributed to malware.
NGFWs have features that go beyond those in a traditional firewall, such as application control, intrusion prevention, and threat intelligence. An NGFW can even be configured with policies that target ransomware.
Taking a Layered Approach to Minimize Ransomware
As cybercriminals tweak ransomware to avoid detection and prevention, your organization should adopt a layered approach to security. A layered approach increases your chances of identifying a threat and stopping it in its tracks before it can shut down your organization.
At AMS.NET, we help our customers build multi-layered security strategies using leading network security solutions, including those by Cisco. Our customers can leverage Cisco Talos for threat intelligence and Cisco MDR for accelerated detection and response.
We provide managed security services, such as network monitoring, penetration testing, and consultations.
Get expert advice on how to limit the impact of ransomware attacks. Ask for a complimentary IT security consultation from AMS.NET.