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5 Things South Floridians Can Do to Protect Themselves from a Ransomware Attack

The COVID-19 pandemic caused an eruption of cybersecurity incidents, with ransomware attacks among them. The total cost of ransomware attacks in 2021 has been predicted to surpass the $20 billion threshold by year’s end, making ransomware attacks one of the most critical malware threats facing organizations in the digital economy.

It can be difficult for your organization to know how to prevent an attack and even more challenging to know what to do if you’re the victim of one. Cyber attacks are evolving rapidly in large part due to the pace at which new technology is being introduced. Ransomware attacks have become one of the most common forms of attack businesses face. Many large businesses, organizations, and agencies have fallen victim to ransomware attacks and, unfortunately, this creates the impression that small and medium-sized businesses are not on a cybercriminal’s radar. This is not the case.

What Is Ransomware and How Does It Work?

Ransomware is a type of cyberattack in which malicious actors gain access to an individual or organization’s sensitive and confidential data, encrypt the data, and send a note demanding a ransom payment from the owner of the data to restore access via a decryption key. Attacks have risen in recent years, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a substantial amount of personal and business activity was moved online.

In 2021, the scale and scope of ransomware attacks were really unprecedented. Ransomware attacks hit businesses across the globe in record numbers. Here are a few of the notable ones.

  • JBS USA – Global beef manufacturer attacked by the REvil group in March
  • Colonial Pipeline – Fuel supplier, allegedly attacked by DarkSide in April
  • Quanta – A computer maker that was attacked by REvil in April
  • Acer– The computer manufacturer was also attacked by the REvil group in May
  • Kaseya-  manages IT infrastructure for major companies worldwide and was attacked in July by REvil

Is it possible for individuals and businesses to protect themselves from ransomware attacks? It is possible for individuals and businesses to protect themselves against ransomware, but it is a process, with prevention and planning for the worst being driving forces. Ransomware threatens to put your data out of reach, so the best way to prepare is to have a strategy that you can turn to. We look at the five key things you need to do to protect yourself or your business from a ransomware attack.

Airgap Your Backups

One of the keys to being able to avoid a ransomware attack is to have robust and well-tested backups. That means ensuring that your backups are made regularly and that they are thorough and comprehensive, as well as air-gapped. It also means your backup policies and practices should be regularly reviewed and tested.

Air gaps help protect data against traditional physical threats and emerging threats including ransomware. There are different types of data protection gaps. Air gaps are not new. Air gaps have been a preferred data protection technique for many businesses and organizations.

However, what is new is that more individuals and businesses are beginning to realize that offsite copies of data can be a solid defense against threats like ransomware. Air gaps offer protection against ransomware and other risks by having offsite copies that are not accessible to malicious actors, allowing you to protect your recovery copies.

Make Sure That All Devices Are Protected with the Latest Security Solution for Endpoint Protection

As the recent ransomware attacks from 2021 showed, keeping your devices up to date with the latest security solution is very important. Ransomware attacks can exploit known vulnerabilities within devices and spread across networks without any human interaction.

Cybercriminals closely monitor vulnerabilities. Most software publishers also monitor vulnerabilities and they release patches to ‘patch’ those security holes. So, it is important to keep your devices protected with the latest security solution.

Endpoint Protection solutions can protect your devices from ransomware and investigate security alerts and incidents. Endpoint protection solutions allow admins to manage devices and perform remediation against threats.

Don’t Click on Links or Emails You Are Not 100% Sure Are Good

Never click on links or download attachments that seem suspicious. If you are not 100 percent sure that a link or email is not suspicious, do not click it. Suspicious links and files may carry ransomware. Staying vigilant about what links you click on and the attachments you open, especially from unknown sources.

Patch and Update Applications and Operating Systems in a Timely Manner

You must ensure your operating system and applications are up-to-date with the latest security updates and patches to protect you from vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors. Ensuring your applications are patched and updated will reduce vulnerabilities and exploitable entry points for cybercriminals who want to access sensitive data or harm network assets.

Avoid Suspicious Websites

With more people storing personal information on their devices, it has become even more important to protect yourself from malicious actors looking to gain access to your files and data. One of the ways they can do this is by attacking your device or trying to access as much information as possible from a malicious website.

Visiting websites that are unsafe, suspicious, or fake can lead to the intrusion of ransomware. Always remain cautious when visiting websites. The best thing you can do is to avoid suspicious websites altogether.

Here are some things to keep in mind when visiting websites that can help you protect yourself:

  • Does the website seem strange to you? Is it asking for sensitive personal information?
  • Does the website have legitimate contact information?
  • Pay close attention to the URL to ensure you are on the website you are supposed to be on.
  • Is the website offering you a product or service at an incredibly low price that seems too good to be true?

The best way to protect against ransomware is by investing in ransomware protection services before you become a victim of a ransomware attack. Contact Palindrome Consulting today to discuss your ransomware protection options.

Special thanks to Ulistic High-Performance Club member, James Forbis, an awesome Cincinnati IT services professional for his help with this article,

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