According to ransomware statistics, ransomware costs will reach $20 billion by 2021. That is not all, even the downtime costs and average ransom payment is on the rise as well. Ransomware downtime costs has exponentially increased by 200% year on year while the average ransom payment increased by 104% in Q4 of 2019.
There is more to ransomware than financial damage. The frequency and complexity of ransomware attacks are also increasing, making it more difficult to protect against such attacks. Cybersecurity Venture data suggests that one ransomware attack will target a business every 11 seconds. The focus of these attacks has shifted from low profile targets to high profile targets such as critical infrastructure.
How can you protect your business from ransomware attacks? For that, you will have to identify gaps in your cybersecurity system and plug those gaps to prevent ransomware attack. In this article, you will learn about seven cybersecurity gaps that businesses should plug to prevent ransomware attacks.
1. Ignoring Antivirus Warnings
Most companies have an antivirus program to block malware infections but most of them rarely pay attention to the warnings and notifications offered by these programs. As a result, malware present on the domain controller and gaming dedicated servers get ignored. What is even worse is that these antivirus programs are not updated to the latest version which limits its capability to detect and block latest cybersecurity threats. Irrespective of how good your antivirus program is, it will not detect new threats if it is not updated to the latest version as antivirus software relies on virus definition to identify threats. The more updated the virus definition is, the latest threats it can detect.
2. Remote Access Issues
Remote connections to systems usually use remote desktop protocols, which are usually protected with a weak password. To make matters worse, input is usually set to the default that too without any restrictions. This means that your systems are easily accessible. Hackers know this and can easily exploit it to fulfill their malicious designs. They can use this vulnerability to penetrate your network and wreak havoc on your company’s data and infrastructure.
3. Neglecting Warning Signs
Cybersecurity attacks do not happen instantly. They have warning signs that most businesses ignore. Ransomware attacks are no different. If you keep a close eye on warning signs you can not react early but can also minimize the damage. Sometimes, your internet service provider might send you a notification or alert about risk of infection or your antivirus alerts you about a potential threat lingering inside your network. Unfortunately, most business don’t pay attention to these warnings and even if they do, they don’t take it seriously and ends up paying a hefty price for it later.
4. Lack of Data Backup
The primary objective of a ransomware attack is usually to get a ransom by making your data inaccessible. If you have a backup of your data, you can save yourself from paying the ransom and restore your data from the backup. If you do not have a backup of your data, you have no choice but to pay the ransom the attacker is asking you to pay. That is how important having a data backup is. In short, data backup saves you from playing into the hands of cybercriminals. If taking backup of all your data seems tedious, you can take backup of your business-critical data or automate the process.
5. Poor Patch Management
Most businesses struggle with patch management. In fact, most even do not have a patch and lifecycle management in place. From operating systems to software to legacy systems, everything is outdated or no longer supported by vendors and software providers. What businesses do not realize is that these outdated software and hardware are putting their critical business data at a higher risk.
Legacy systems and older software have loopholes that can easily be exploited by hackers to get access to your company network and data. Lack of proper lifecycle management combined with poor patch management make the job of hackers easier as it facilitates the spread of malware and viruses.
6. Access and Rights Management
Most organizations do not implement role-based access control which give all their employees access to critical data. This can drastically increase the risk of internal attacks. System administrators have privileges that they can misuse so it is important for businesses to keep an eye on employee who have privileged access to their data. Implement role-based access control which will only give employees access to things that they require to complete their tasks. You can easily block and allow access whenever you want but giving users excessive rights is risky and can lead to your demise.
You can also implement multi factor authentication to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your data. Yes, it might add an extra step which can be cumbersome for employees as they have to go through it every time they login to their account but it will also make it more secure as it adds an extra layer of security. Even if the cybercriminals manage to guess or steal your password, they won’t be able to access your data. This extra layer can stop them from accessing your accounts.
7. Using a Single Network
Another common issue most businesses have is that they have a single network. This allows cyber attackers an easy pass. If they manage to infect one computer, they can use it as a ladder to target other computers on the same network. Let’s say, if a computer in your marketing department get infected, it can leave other computers in marketing department vulnerable to infections. In worst cases, it can spread throughout your organization, infecting computers in other departments such as production and human resource. That is why it is highly recommended that you segregate your network. Keep your critical data on one network and everything else on the other network.
What do you do to prevent ransomware attacks? Let us know in the comments section below.