Did you know that in the first three quarters of 2019, 7.2 billion malware attacks were launched? This type of cybercrime is still one of the most popular, and it can affect both individual users as well as small, medium and large enterprises.
Ransomware attacks are increasing so you need to remain vigilant and stay protected. One of the only ways to recover from a ransomware attack is to revert to your backups. Cybercriminals will also attack backups stored onsite or on the cloud, so you need to learn more about ransomware backup protection.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of cybercrime in which the criminals encrypt files or backups and ask for a sum of money to restore access to these files. The payout can range from several hundred to millions of dollars and the victims need to follow specific steps to offer the money and regain access to files.
Why Should I Care About Ransomware?
You should care about this type of cybercrime because it directly influences the future of your business or your access to IT services. If you have a company and you store massive amounts of data on servers and in the cloud, a ransomware attack can make all your hard work inaccessible. You’ll eventually have to pay a fortune to get back access to your data, which can be very infuriating. Knowing how to protect your company against ransomware is key and it will give you more peace of mind in the future.
How Can I Protect My Backups Against Ransomware Attacks?
Most data handling programs offer automatic backup services that can be useful in case of emergency. However, hackers know how to attack these backups as well. They send files via emails or infected links that can spread throughout the computer network, once opened. Once this happens, you cannot restore the files that have been locked by malevolent people, so you’ll eventually have to pay the money asked. To avoid that, follow these tips.
Make at Least Three Copies of Your Data
Companies are instructed to keep at least three backups of their data. The more copies, the better, but the minimum should be three. It’s fairly difficult for ransomware attacks to infect all your copies at once. If something bad happens, these copies can help you restore your computer systems to a previous state, just before the attack happened. Make sure that these backup copies are performed automatically every day, so you have more peace of mind.
Keep Two Copies on Different Storage Devices
There are many ways to store your backups. Business leaders should take advantage of this and have at least two copies stored on different devices such as local servers, tape servers, etc. Yes, tape servers were used back in the 1980s, but their advantage is that they’re usually not connected to any type of network, so they cannot be affected by ransomware. Tape servers are easy to use and efficient in emergency situations as well.
Keep One Copy of Your Data Offsite
Offsite means somewhere far away from your company. You can do this in many ways. For example, you can store backups on physical hard drives that are stored on the other side of the city. You can also take advantage of professional data storing services that focus on keeping backups protected against all kinds of threats.
For example, there are facilities designed for data storage and protection only. They are built-in remote locations, they are monitored 24/7, they are protected against fire, water, and other natural elements, and they cannot be accessed by third party users. Some of them are even protected against hurricanes! You should work with such a facility to store one copy of your data in the safest place possible.
Use Powerful Antivirus Programs and Keep Them Updated
Apart from protecting your backups, you also need to learn to minimize the intrusions in your computer network. Needless to say, every business should run an antivirus program on its computers. This antivirus software should be operational all the time and updated with the latest virus definitions.
Antivirus programs scan files in real-time. This is a good thing because they can quickly detect a file that has been infected with ransomware and quarantine it. Your computer network should also run a strong firewall that monitors all incoming and outgoing connections. A good firewall will let you know if someone tries to access your computers against your will and it can block the incoming connection right away.
Keep Your Operating System Updated
Just as an antivirus program is updated regularly with the latest virus definitions, your operating system also receives periodic updates. Some of these updates make your computers run faster, but many of them also contain security patches. These patches are basically security improvements, little pieces of code that fix bugs and prevent hackers from exploiting a coding mistake. Keep your operating system updated and you’re less likely to have your backups attacked by ransomware.
Restrict Administrative Privileges
Ransomware can infect your computer in various ways and one of the most popular methods consists of requiring administrative privileges. This basically means that it needs permission to modify important settings in your computer systems. You shouldn’t let your employees have administrative powers and grant permissions to third-party apps and files without your consent. Therefore, make sure that you restrict administrative privileges and grant them only to a few of your best and most experienced workers. By doing so, you have much more control over who installs apps on your computers and when.
Training your employees is the first step in protecting your business against ransomware!
As you can see, ransomware backup protection is not that difficult once you understand what you’re dealing with. Remember that ransomware can quickly send your business back into the stone age, so you need to do everything you can to prevent that.
Apart from putting the strategies mentioned above into practice, you should also stay educated when it comes to ransomware and ransomware attacks and training your employees is the first step.
About the Center for Information Security Awareness (CFISA) –
The Center for Information Security Awareness was formed in 2007 by a group of leading academics, security experts, and fraud experts to explore ways to increase security awareness among consumers, employees, businesses, and law enforcement.
- Online security awareness training
- On-site security awareness training
- HIPAA compliance courses
- PCI credit card compliance courses
CFISA currently has a diverse blend of customers using their valuable training, including:
- Small, medium and large businesses
- Federal, state and local government agencies
- Colleges and universities
- Financial institutions