In a day and age where information is king and the internet is used for nearly every business transaction that is made it is now more important than ever that companies protect themselves against potential invasion of privacy and stealing of information. Both the U.S. and Canadian government in recent months have issued warnings to companies and at home users as well about ransomware.
It is important that users first understand just what ransomware is. Put quite simply, ransomware is a computer program that essentially holds information hostage until a sum of money, or ransom, is paid to unlock the information. The government advises those that are affected by this type of malicious malware to refuse to pay the ransom and instead regularly back up files and information to help make this type of attack less of an emergency.
US-CERT recommends that administrators and users take preventative measures to protect their information and networks from ever becoming infested with this malicious software. With the appropriate safe guards, such as patches and up-to-date antivirus software, filtering email attachments, restricting user permissions to run unwanted software and applying the least privilege possible to systems and services companies can begin to protect themselves.
Taking a closer look at some of these options may help users to make the right choice. The first line of defense is of course to limit the privileges of the servers and systems. This is going to help prevent the harmful software from ever entering your system. Restricting permissions for unwanted software can also help prevent the piggy backing of harmful software on these applications. Filtering email attachments can also help to prevent the piggy backing of harmful applications on emails.
These are all great preventative measures, but an adequate and up-to-date anti virus program is going to be the second line of defense against this type of program. Having adequate protection in place to help remove and prevent these programs from installing is going to help prevent major damage if ransomware somehow makes it past the filters and first defense actions that you have taken. These are all steps that any business owner can take before they ever become a Fortune 500 company to help protect their information and customers as they climb to the top.
Ransomware has started to effect hospitals mainly and in one case a group of hospitals in Germany were reduced to passing handwritten notes rather than typical emails in the wake of an infection of the system. Public institutions like hospitals are going to be the main focus of this type of hacker attack for a very specific reason. These institutions have a large amount of personal information that needs to be protected.
As your company grows and changes, it becomes more necessary than ever for your business to be protected from this type of attack. It is important that you have the proper safeguards in place to first off prevent this type of infection, then something to remedy the issue if ransomware somehow slips through the cracks.
Ransomware is not something that you are going to be able to avoid and as companies grow and amass more and more personal information belonging to clients they become a better target. In essence, your success is going to work to make your company a target so making sure you are protected is the best way to help allow your company to continue to grow and evolve. As hackers get smarter and more information is amassed, protection and preventative measures are going to be the best way to protect your company from start to finish.