Since the coronavirus pandemic forced shutdowns in several countries, most employees have been working from home. In this period, there have been growing reports of ransomware attacks on digital devices.
Ransomware is a kind of malicious software that restricts a user’s access to an infected computer. The hackers behind ransomware, encrypt the files and demand a ransom for the user to regain access. Ransoms are typically in the range of a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars.
Statistics on the Rise of Ransomware during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The FBI has stated that ransomware complaints have risen by five times during the coronavirus pandemic. Interpol has also released a report saying that cyberattacks against health organizations, large firms, and governments have escalated.
In August 2020, Canon had its website attacked by the Maze ransomware group. Pharmaceutical companies in Germany and Belgium were also hit with ransomware in January 2020. In March 2020, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in the US experienced a ransomware attack.
As things stand, firms and organizations are facing serious cyber-threats. Below, you’ll find steps on how to shield your company from ransomware attacks.
Tips to Follow to Prevent Ransomware
Use Security Software
Make sure you have appropriate security tools downloaded on your device, including antivirus software, firewall, email scanner, etc. This software blocks infected files and prevent them from infecting your device.
A VPN is another useful software to have. It creates a private network between your computer and the internet. When you are using a public network, which is usually unprotected, make sure your traffic is encrypted using a VPN.
Install Software Updates Instantly
Procrastinating a software update will lead to a vulnerability in your security. When the developers behind a program release an update, the new version contains security upgrades. Security loopholes would have been patched, making it tougher for cybercriminals to exploit them.
There have been instances when delayed software updates led to ransomware infections. Petya, a type of ransomware, made the news after attacking numerous Windows-based systems. Microsoft had solved the loopholes exploited by the malicious software in an update. However, users who neglected the update got infected.
There was also the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 that attacked FedEx and the UK’s National Health Service. It worked so well because systems in these firms were running on outdated software.
Make sure your IT team installs updates immediately when they’re available. Operating systems, browser extensions, and computer programs require updates to prevent ransomware.
Train your Workers
Before ransomware can be installed on a system, it requires human action. That is the reason why workers need to be educated on cybersecurity. Your firm’s IT team should endeavor to organize seminars on digital security to prevent ransomware.
Certain rules need to be taught. First, suspicious mails need to be flagged. This is because emails are one of the highest ways through which computers get infected with ransomware.
For instance, emails related to services that you don’t use should be flagged. Any email from an unrecognized source should never be opened. Attachments that get downloaded from these emails could infect the computer.
Second, staff should be cautious and check the email address of the sender thoroughly. Hackers use email addresses similar to that of legitimate services to confuse people.
Third, suspicious emails should be reported to your company’s IT department before the employee can take action.
Ransomware threats have emerged as one of the most dominant cyberattacks to companies during the coronavirus period. To protect your firm from getting infected, you can take some cyber security-conscious steps.
Make sure you update office software constantly, use a VPN and educate your employees on identifying ransomware attacks.