The recent cyber-attack on the city of Baltimore in early May 2019, demonstrates the incredible impact that ransomware can have on an organization’s or government’s computer systems. Another recent attack took place in a small Florida city, where officials agreed to pay in Bitcoin that almost amounted to $600,000 in ransom to get their encrypted files back. Now, both of these state/city organizations are scrambling to put the proper protocols in place. Hindsight is always 20/20, but you can bet that state officials are questioning why funds where not allocated sooner to strengthen cyber security defense efforts.
A vulnerable network, a simple click in an email or a file inadvertently downloaded from a website can trigger the ransomware to halt all activities on a workstation/server until a ransom is paid to unlock the system. A surprising number of people attempt to pay the ransom to avoid the embarrassing situation as in the case of the Florida city. They believed it was the only way for their city to get back to business.
Is your organization up-to-date on your security? Have you instituted the methods, mechanisms and tools to secure your network? Here is a shortlist of tips to mitigate the risk:
Continually review your IT infrastructure, keep all software upgraded and your network monitored 24/7.
Have you recently done a security check or hired an outside firm to see what is under your hood?
Consistent Employee Training
Instruct your employees/users to ignore requests for a ransom. When a money is paid, many are victimized again and attempts to extort again may follow. Educating your users never to open unexpected email attachments, be wary of links contained in emails and not to download untrusted files from websites is a critical preventative measure.
Prevent Users from Visiting Infected Websites
Content filters that prevent users from visiting problematic websites or downloading potentially risky files are extremely useful. Keep the filter’s profile up to date so that restricted websites and files identified by professionals are continually part of the list prohibited by your organization. This coupled with placement of a leading antivirus tool on all endpoints (all the machines in your business) is a highly preventative measure.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Have a Backup/DR plan in place so if hackers succeed in infiltrating machines on your network your information is already backed up. If proactive measures are taken, the system can be wiped clean and restored without losing too much down time or infecting others on your network.
With questions on protecting your business from ransomware attacks and building a comprehensive security plan, please contact Superior Technology at 845-735-3555 or online at www.superiortechnology.com.
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