Protect Your Business From Ransomware
April 18, 2022 5 minute read

In this article, we will walk you through the basics of ransomware and what you need to do to protect your business.

To start, imagine for a moment that a ransomware attack is akin to getting a breakthrough infection of Covid-19. You’ve taken precautions, like getting vaccinated or wearing a mask, and yet out of the blue you’re hit with something that has the potential to do you harm.

Like Covid-19, ransomware is a prominent feature in the daily news, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, it can get us. Unlike Covid-19, ransomware does not attack human health but instead focuses on another very important thing: your money.

What is Ransomware?

First, let’s understand what ransomware is, and why it’s on the rise.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

In recent years, ransomware incidents have become increasingly prevalent among private businesses, nonprofits, critical infrastructure organizations, and state, local and government entities. Businesses of all sizes have become targets of ransomware, as it can infect not only personal computers, but also entire networks and servers.

The world saw an alarming 105% surge in ransomware cyberattacks in 2021. The increase is believed to be linked to the rise in remote work and company employees working outside their office networks.

Ransomware incidents can severely impact business processes and leave organizations without the data they need to operate and deliver mission-critical services. The monetary value of ransom demands has also increased, with some demands exceeding $1 million.

Throughout the initial disruption and, at times, extended recovery, the economic and reputational impacts of ransomware incidents have also proven challenging for organizations large and small.

How to Protect Your Business

The best method of protecting your business is a mix of mitigating strategies layered on top of one another.

  1. Create a culture of safety within your organization. When everyone in the organization, from the executive to the entry-level employee, is encouraged to participate in security, risk typically decreases. What do we mean by this? Teach your employees about ransomware and the importance of preventing it, with trainings and exercises. Show your employees how to detect suspicious emails and attachments.

  2. Back-up your files often, ideally in a remote location that is not connected to your main network. In addition, develop a schedule for regularly backing up sensitive business files.

  3. Keep your company software updated, so that you can “patch” security vulnerabilities as they are discovered.

  4. Make use of multifactor authentication (MFA). With MFA, you are deploying at least three or more unique authentication methods in order to confirm the identity of an individual wanting to gain access to your IT and network infrastructure. This can include a combination of a password, a PIN number and even a biometric-based technology such as a fingerprint and/or iris recognition.

  5. Make use of role-based access controls (RBAC). With RBAC, carefully review each employee's job title and what their specific functions are. Once all of this has been ascertained, assign the permissions that are needed at the bare minimum. This is also known as “least privilege access.” In other words, you do not want to give an employee any more permission than what is absolutely required so they can perform job tasks on a daily basis. 

  6. Enable strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching the end users and authenticate inbound email to prevent email spoofing.

  7. Configure firewalls to block access to known malicious IP addresses.

  8. Develop a protocol for reporting incidents of ransomware and other suspicious cyber activity.

  9. Purchase cyber liability insurance that not only helps you respond to threats, but can also help cover the cost of the ransom and any other losses incurred as a result of cyber extortion.

 

Conclusion

It is very important to take ransomware seriously, and familiarize yourself with best practices in protection. Ransomware is not going anywhere in the near future, and may in fact, get worse. Call Chalmers Insurance today to learn more about your coverage options. 

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