10 Ways Vancouver Organizations Can Prevent Ransomware

Ransomware continues to be a problem in Canada and around the world. Cybercriminals use ransomware to freeze your computer and demand a ransom between hundreds to thousands of dollars to unfreeze your computer. Ransomware infiltrates thousands of organizations’ networks and servers, leading to a loss of critical information and data. In this post, we offer 10 ways to prevent ransomware attacks on your data.

The Cost of Ransomware

According to a Datto study, in 2019, Canada had the highest average downtime cost due to ransomware.  The cost of these attacks was $180,000, up from $65,724 the previous year.

Eighty-five percent of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) say ransomware is the biggest threat to their businesses.

On average, one in five SMBs says they’ve been victims of a ransomware attack.

Here are some ten ways you can protect your organization from a ransomware attack.

1.  Educate Your Employees

Your employees will be the first people to be exposed to potential ransomware. So, they need to be educated so that they can be aware of how to prevent ransomware. It would be best to make your employees aware of warning signs, safe practices, and how to respond to any threats.

2.  Have a Data Backup and Recovery Plan for All Critical Information

Regardless of how well you can prevent ransomware, you must have a backup system in place to lessen the impact of potential malware threats. Store your data in a separate device or offline, so you can access it if you’re attacked.

3.  Be Careful of Email Links

If you receive an email with a link, don’t open it unless you know it’s legitimate. Be careful about opening attachments or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them. These files may contain viruses or other software that can weaken your computer’s security.

To be safe, hover your mouse over the link without clicking it—a small window will pop up with the correct URL. If the URL differs from the one displayed as the link text, it may lead you to a potentially harmful situation.

4.  Use Strong Spam Filters

It would help if you used strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails. Phishing emails attempt to obtain sensitive information by disguising themselves as legitimate emails from people you may do business with. Your spam filter should also be able to authenticate inbound email using technologies like Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) to prevent email spoofing.

5.  Make Sure Anti-Virus Software is Up-To-Date 

You must have your anti-virus software installed and up-to-date on all your computer systems. This is the best first line of defence your organization can have. Also, be sure to set your anti-virus and malware software to conduct regular scans automatically.

6.  Give Users Bare-Minimum Access    

Reduce hackers’ chance of gaining access to sensitive data by giving your employees minimum access to do their jobs. For example, no employee should have administrative access unless needed, and it should only be used when necessary.

7.  Test Your System

Run “penetration tests” against your network’s security at least once a year, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

8.  Keep Your Computer Operating Systems Up-To-Date

Ensure your organization’s devices have the latest Microsoft security patches to protect yourself from the latest attacks. Make sure that critical software is updated on all computers and mobile devices. When new operating system versions are available, be sure to install them as soon as possible.

9.  Provide Strong Authentication 

You should require that all your systems have multi-factor authentication to access. This minimizes the risk of access through stolen or hacked credentials. and helps to prevent ransomware

10.  Use Difficult-to-Guess Passwords

Use long and unique passwords to protect against hackers. Passwords should include at least eight characters – a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

If you want more information on how to protect your organization from ransomware, contact us today for a free consultation.