Springthrough Thoughts

Ransomware & YOU

May 30, 2018 by Springthrough

With a myriad of types, including Ransomware as a Service (RaaS), what can IT professionals and end users do to ensure they remain protected from the latest ransomware attack? To start, we need to define exactly just what ransomware is.

In a nutshell, ransomware is a type of malware that can be distributed in many ways--such as through phishing attacks and social engineering. This type of software’s primary goal is to disrupt an organization by encrypting its data and then extracting payment to decrypt the data.

A few of the more infamous versions or ransomware are listed below:

  1. CryptoLocker
  2. TeslaCrypt
  3. SimpleLocker
  4. WannaCry
  5. NotPetya
  6. Ransomware as a service (RaaS)

The last item above is one of the newest types of ransomware and has been wreaking havoc due to the minimal technical knowledge needed for users to launch their own attacks. RaaS works by users logging in to a web portal and creating custom code from other developers “templates.”

So, what are the best defenses against this type of intrusion? The answers are surprising simple—backups and training. Simply training your staff to better identify suspicious email is very effective, since most ransomware attacks originate via email. The human element can often be the greatest hurdle IT professionals face when defining security policies and best practices, and properly trained users go a long way towards ensuring the security of the company’s data.

The 3-2-1 Backup Rule:

The 3-2-1 backup rule plays a critical part in how quickly companies can recover data in the event of a ransomware infection.  Have three copies of your data, two of which are stored on different local media and one copy stored at an offsite location. The offsite copy here can be the real hero depending on how far the infection has spread and which user’s permissions it utilized to travel throughout your network.

The thought of a ransomware infection can be scary, but just remember to have the proper foundation in place to mitigate data loss and maximize data restoration. This area of IT, not unlike others, is ever evolving—and at an alarming rate. It is not a matter of “if” but simply a matter of “when” you and your team will come face to face with ransomware.  The best offense is a great defense.

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