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Ransomware: 4 Habits That Make You More Vulnerable

In the last few years, security has become one of the most important challenges in IT. There are two major questions you should be asking about potential cyberattacks, including ransomwares.

This threat is aptly named since the aim is to steal, ransom, and threaten to compromise all of an organization’s data, including operational data, customer data, and financial data (both the organization’s and customers’).

How ransomware works and a shocking video

Ransomware attacks do not typically occur because hackers have repeatedly attacked your organization and managed to break through the firewall. They generally occur when users carelessly open suspicious files or emails or when employees visit malicious websites.

If you’re still not convinced that ransomware poses a serious threat, know that even someone with basic computer skills can hack you from the local coffee shop. A “hacker” could simply be a social media expert with in-depth knowledge of the Internet and business relationships. Using simple tools provided by real hackers, they could be able to steal money by taking computer data for ransom.

The fact that a typical ransomware attack can be carried out by any run-of-the-mill person looking to make extra money through dishonest means is troubling to say the least.

Risk factors

1. Who controls the anti-virus?

Chances are that you have purchased an anti-virus and installed it on all your computers, but you let users manage it themselves (partially or totally). By giving users control, you run the risk that some of them may disable the anti-virus to access malicious or unrecommended sites, or send (or receive) suspicious files such as executable programs (.exe files).

It is therefore advisable to entrust control of your anti-virus to a qualified person who is aware of the possible consequences of disabling anti-virus features. It’s also important to establish rules on how different types of files are to be handled and to identify prohibited sites or content.

2. Server and workstation updates: What a pain!

It takes time to install updates on workstations and servers. Everyone knows this. Which is why users often do not bother to install them before shutting down their workstations, and server updates are forgotten or not prioritized by staff.

This has major consequences, creating security holes on both workstations and servers and leaving the door wide open to ransomware attacks. Many of the latest ransomware attacks that have hit tens or even hundreds of countries have exploited these vulnerabilities.

3. A properly used firewall

You may have installed a firewall to separate your organization’s network from the outside world, but that’s not enough. Organizations often neglect to enable additional firewall features and add-ons that provide greater protection against attacks. These include web filtering, intrusion prevention, and application control, all of which should be enabled on your firewall.

4. Dedicated anti-spam protection: A must

Without a dedicated anti-spam solution, you will have to deal with an ever-increasing number of fraudulent email addresses and providers. This has a huge impact on ransomware attacks since many of them originate from unfiltered emails.

The vast majority of email providers today include basic anti-spam protection. But basic protection is inadequate in many ways. Only a dedicated anti-spam solution can truly minimize the risk of attacks and intrusion by malicious software.

Closing remarks

In summary, tighter anti-virus control, systematic server and workstation updates, additional firewall services, and proper use of anti-spam software will greatly limit your vulnerability to ransomware attacks.

All of these solutions can be implemented quickly, will significantly reduce your vulnerability to ransomware attacks, and are affordable too!

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