By Julie Kendall
We’ve all heard the term ransomware, but what exactly is it and how can it effect your business? ransomware is malware that will lock up your system, often encrypt your files, and demand payment either in bitcoins or other currencies to get the encryption key to unlock those files.
Scary, right? So, how does ransomware get onto your system and, more importantly, how can you protect your business from this damaging piece of malware?
Our friends at Trend Micro recently published a comprehensive article on ransomware, going over its history, as well as steps you can take to defend your system against ransomware. According to Trend Micro, “Ransomware can be downloaded onto systems when unwitting users visit malicious or compromised websites. It can also arrive as a payload either dropped or downloaded by other malware. Some ransomware are known to be delivered as attachments from spammed email, downloaded from malicious pages through malvertisements, or dropped by exploit kits onto vulnerable systems.”
If your business is not adequately protected, your data is at risk of falling prey to this type of attack on your corporate workstation. The sophistication of this type of malware—which was first seen in Russia in 2005 and had spread to North America by 2012—continues to evolve. According to Trend Micro, “The latest developments show how threat actors are experimenting with new features, such as offering alternative payment platforms to make ransom payments easier … or developing methods that can help spread and infect more systems faster.”
While there is no one panacea to prevent ransomware from attacking your environment, a multi-layered approach that prevents it from attacking your network and systems will help minimize the risk.
Trend Micro provides some ransomware defense mechanisms to consider, all of which are worth your time to review. Among solutions discussed are mail and web gateway solutions, as well as cloud-based hosted email security. Of course, the basics will always serve you well. As recommended by Trend Micro:
- Avoid opening unverified emails or clicking links embedded in them
- Back up important files using the 3-2-1 rule—create 3 backup copies on 2 different media with 1 backup in a separate location
- Regularly update software, programs, and applications to protect against the latest vulnerabilities
These are just a few highlights from the article—we encourage you to take a look to find out more about ransomware and ways to keep your system safe.
Remember, KAI Partners works with organizations to help identify gaps in security efforts and look at what steps you should consider implementing to ensure safety. Contact KAI Partners at email@example.com to help you address these risks and train your staff to minimize your information security risks.
About the Author: Co-owner of KAI Partners, Inc., Julie Kendall is an IT Audit Manager with over 40 years’ experience working in project management, IT risk analysis, IT audit testing, Sarbanes-Oxley IT control testing, SAS 70 vendor reviews, and IT audit/control teaching. Julie’s work has focused on IT audit department development consulting, IT risk analysis, IT infrastructure support and application audits, vendor information security testing, IT control identification, IT SOX and ISO 27001 Information Security control compliance consulting/testing, and IT audit software development consulting/project management. Julie has provided training consultation for CISA exam reviews related to IT auditors and management training on a variety of technology controls based on different information security standards, including COSO, SOX, PCI-DCSS, HIPAA, and ISO27001. Her primary focus in the last 10 years has been with the financial services industries, high technology manufacturing, state governments, and digital content production companies.