Back Ups – The Reactive Approach
Ransomware strikes and your files are locked, and will remain locked unless you pay the ransom demand. What if you don’t want to pay? Back ups can be an effective way to replace the encrypted files, thus avoiding having to pay the hacker’s ransom demand. However, this is only effective if the back ups are up to date, and have not been encrypted. In certain cases, businesses have still paid the ransom, even when their data was backed up, because the time and manpower to restore the systems would be more costly than paying the ransom.
As ransomware becomes an increasingly popular method of malware attacks, the hackers are likely to find ways to get users to pay up, even with back ups. It won’t be long before back up files are targeted and encrypted as well. It is also fair to speculate the hackers will threaten to expose your files if you don’t pay up. Many businesses, cannot afford files to be exposed. Whether it intellectual property, business financials, or patient information — the cost for these files being release is incredibly high, higher than paying the ransom. This is exactly what the hackers know and will exploit. This is why back ups aren’t enough to protect against ransomware.
Time for Prevention
Ransomware is out of control. In 2016, hackers received an estimated $1 billion in paid ransoms. Ransomware attacks are only going to get more sophisticated. It is time to prevent them, instead of reacting to them. But the question is, how? How do we prevent ransomware from infecting business and home users?
- Use a security solution that implements application whitelisting technology.
- Ensure all of your programs and operating systems are up to date.
- Monitor and edit administrative rights to what include only what is necessary.
- Increase education on current cyber security threats, and red flags to assist in spotting an attack.
- Perform penetration testing to identify any existing vulnerabilities.
- Disable macros. Many malicious attachments require macros to be enabled in order to infect your PC.
It is important all of these things are taking place to effectively prevent ransomware attacks. As stated before, we cannot rely on reactive approaches to modern cyber threats. It is time to start preventing them.