Ransomware attacks are the most common attack-type targeting businesses. In fact, 21% of total cyberattacks are caused by ransomware.
So learning how to protect against ransomware attacks is crucial to protect your business from ransomware infection.
In this article, you will explore proven tips to prevent ransomware attacks. Also, you will learn about the best tools you can use to enhance ransomware protection. Let’s dive in:
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software or malware infection that restricts your access to the infected system or data until you pay a ransom in exchange for the access. What’s worse, in some ransomware attacks, hackers threaten to publish data or sell data on the dark web.
Can You Learn How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks?
Yes, you can learn how to prevent ransomware attacks in a suitable cybersecurity workshop or training course. Installing anti-ransomware protection on your system and mobile device, using a quality VPN, and following the best cybersecurity practices are proven ways to prevent ransomware attacks.
Why Is It Important to Protect Against a Ransomware Attack?
Ransomware attacks can affect businesses drastically, resulting in downtime, loss of essential data, money, and reputation. According to The State of Ransomeware, 66% of organizations surveyed were attacked by ransomware last year. And a successful ransomware attack can cost your business dearly. The same report stated ransomware attacks cost, on average, $1.4 million to recover.
What’s worse, 13% of ransomware attacks lead to data breaches. So you must invest in buying security solutions and take protective measures to prevent a ransomware attack.
Top Tips to Provide Ransomware Protection
The following tips will help you keep your IT infrastructure safe from ransomware infection:
1. Keep Your Systems Up-To-Date
Viruses and ransomware typically look for vulnerabilities in operating systems and software applications to infect. So you should ensure that everyone in your company installs the latest security patches and regularly updates their systems.
It is a good practice to turn on automatic updates in all your company’s systems and software programs.
2. Strengthen Endpoint Security
Hardening endpoint security in your business is an effective way to limit your business’ threat surface. The stronger your endpoint security is, the harder it will be for threat actors to infect your systems with ransomware.
Your endpoint security tools should provide protection from:
- Suspicious emails and attachments
- Malicious web downloads
- Unauthorized access to devices and applications
When you are looking for tools to secure endpoints, consider tools that offer behavioral monitoring, rapid detection, and flexible deployment options.
3. Backup Critical Data
You should prepare for the worst-case scenario even if you’re equipped with the latest tools to fight ransomware infection. Once ransomware encrypts data, the threat actors make ransom demands. Paying a ransom is never the right option because it encourages hackers to target other small business owners.
So a data backup and recovery policy that frequently backups critical data is an excellent strategy to prepare for ransomware attacks.
Here are the best data backup practices:
- Verify your data backup system from time to time to check if it is functioning properly
- Store critical data in a separate location, away from the system where it is being processed
- Test your data recovery system regularly to ensure
- Encrypt backup data for optimum security
You should follow the 3-2-1 data backup method. This means creating three copies (one original and two backups) of data, saving in two different media types, one of which should be offsite storage.
You can easily find a reliable cloud storage option to backup data with a file encryption option for added security.
4. Implement Strict Network Policies
Compared to endpoints, network infrastructure devices often don’t have the same level of security. Vendors offer network devices with exploitable services so that users can easily install, operate, and maintain devices. And many a time, business owners don’t change vendor default settings when using network devices.
All of these factors make network devices easy targets for hackers. So you must improve the security of network infrastructure to avoid ransomware attacks.
The following best practices to secure network infrastructure can help your network administrators:
- Secure access to network devices
- Segment and segregate your network to prevent ransomware from moving around
- Change default settings of network devices to secure configuration
- Always buy network devices from authorized distributors
- Remove local administrative rights from endpoints
5. Restrict Permission to Install Unwanted Software
Pirated software programs can also infect your networks and servers with ransomware. Therefore, you should restrict employees from installing unwanted software on their systems.
A certain number of software programs are needed to run a business successfully, depending on the type and size of the business. So your IT administrative professional can easily install essential software programs on your employees’ systems. If they need any additional software program, they should contact the IT department instead of trying to install the program themselves.
6. Implement Zero-Trust Model
Following a zero-trust model is an effective way to prevent ransomware attacks. This is because the zero-trust model makes data and resources inaccessible by default, and users can get access after proper verification and authentication.
Zero-trust security infrastructure continuously monitors data and resources and re-authenticate users and devices. So it can prevent ransomware from infecting other systems by revoking its access to data and resources as soon as the infection is detected.
7. Invest in Security Software and Tools
The most common way to fight ransomware is to install comprehensive antivirus and anti-malware programs on your systems. This is because they can detect and mitigate threats in real-time. So you should purchase the latest security programs and tools to harden cybersecurity in your business.
If you have remote employees on board, make sure they use a VPN when accessing public WiFi or a home computer to access the company server.
8. Get Trained on Best Cybersecurity Practices
Humans are the weakest link in strengthening cybersecurity in your company. It is human behavior that makes phishing attacks so successful. So training your employees on the best cybersecurity practices can better prepare them to prevent ransomware infection.
Here are key areas you should focus on:
- Safe web browsing
- The importance of keeping systems and software programs updated
- Identification of suspicious emails and attachments
- Latest cybersecurity threats
- Strong password policy and multi-factor authentication
- Quick reporting of suspicious activity
Also, carrying out cybersecurity drills is an excellent way to check your employees’ preparedness to protect their systems from ransomware.
Best Ransomware Protection Software Options
Ransomware protection software can help in detecting ransomware early on. Consequently, you can deploy an incident response quickly to prevent ransomware from encrypting files.
Here are the top five ransomware protection software:
1. Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware
If you’re looking for comprehensive ransomware protection, Bitdefender Anti-Ransomware can fit the bill. From ransomware detection to ransomware mitigation, Bitdefender’s adaptive technology proactively blocks attacks and intercepts attempts to encrypt essential data.
Bitdefender anti-ransomware also automatically creates a backup of targeted files and restores them after the ransomware is blocked. You can avail yourself of a free trial to assess the product.
Webroot is a leading company offering various cybersecurity solutions to keep data safe and protect your essential files. Its solutions include Email Security, Endpoint Protection, DNS protection, and much more.
The security solutions offered by Webroot keep your data and files safe from phishing, ransomware, and other cyberattacks. The company offers a 30-Day free trial to test its products.
3. Trend Micro
In the world of cybersecurity, Trend Micro is a reputed name. The company offers products and solutions for hybrid cloud security, network security, user protection, detection and response, and more.
Products targeted for user protection, such as endpoint security, email security, and web security, offer robust protection from ransomware and other cyberattacks. The company offers a free trial of its security solutions.
Malwarebytes offers a reliable tool to mitigate ransomware attacks. There are three Malwarebytes premium plans for businesses – Teams, Endpoint Protection, and Endpoint Detection and Response.
Its top-tier plan provides your small business with real-time AI-powered monitoring to prevent and detect ransomware attacks, effective isolation, thorough eradication, and rollback to a pre-ransomware state.
You will pay the price depending on your plan and the number of devices you want to protect.
Based on Check Points’ behavior monitoring technique, ZoneAlarm Extreme Security NextGen offers protection against all types of ransomware attacks. It can detect and block ransomware access at an initial interaction. If there is any encryption, it can restore and decrypt files immediately.
Critical features of Extreme Security NextGen include but are not limited to powerful Antivirus, Anti-phishing, Anti-ransomware, Firewall Pro, and many more.You can download the Extreme Security NextGen trial to check the complete list of features.
Does Antivirus Software Protect You from Ransomware?
Yes, antivirus software can protect you from known ransomware strains, but it cannot do much if ransomware has already entered your systems/mobile devices and encrypted files.
Do Windows 10 and Windows 11 Protect Against Ransomware?
Yes, Windows 10 and Windows 11 protect against ransomware. Known as Controlled Folder Access, this feature enables you to let only fully vetted applications access your files. And it will prevent known ransomware strains from accessing your files.
What Is the Best Defense Against Ransomware?
The best defense against ransomware is ransomware awareness training. This is because comprehensive training can efficiently tackle leading causes of ransomware infections, such as malicious links in spam and phishing emails, pop-ups on fraudulent websites, USB sticks, and much more.