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Five Ways to Protect your Customers from Ransomware

RansomwareRansomware is software that infects a computer and locks the user out of their own information until they pay a ransom. It’s one of the biggest security threats your customers face, no matter the size of their organization. It’s such a huge problem that the U.S. and Canada just issued a cyber alert warning people, businesses and government agencies about the worsening flood of attacks from software like Locky or Cerber.

The effects of ransomware can be devastating. Users can permanently lose access to their operating systems. Sensitive data may be completely inaccessible. Work grinds to a standstill.


Here are five things you can do to help protect your customers’ systems from ransomware:

  • Install Antivirus Software with Behavioral Capabilities: Your best bet for protection against ransomware is behavioral-detection antivirus software. This type of application watches a system for infections or suspicious events and warns users if it detects an abnormality or a threat. A quick reminder: when you install your AV software make sure the behavioral analysis component is turned on! This type of module is often off, or set passively by default.
  • Get Users Involved: It’s mostly user action that spreads ransomware. People click on unknown email attachments or interact with non-reputable websites and suddenly an infection is spreading through the entire company’s system. Avoid these accidents by teaching users a simple concept: “Don’t open links you don’t know anything about.” Ransomware typically relies on “social engineering” to successfully attack a system. Attachments to email regarding fake logistics statements for example are commonly used; what looks like a purchase order from an unknown source could carry the malicious code. Once you have opened it, it’s often too late. End users MUST be educated regarding these common approaches so that they know a malicious attachment or link when they see one, and know what to do if they accidentally click something they shouldn’t have.
  • Get Offsite Backup: You can safeguard your clients’ critical information by storing it offsite. Look for a backup solution that stores data in the cloud so files are safe if there’s a ransomware attack on an internal network. Be sure to set these products to perform regular backups to make recovery quick and thorough. A USB hard drive connected to your server is not sufficient and will often be encrypted along with everything else hosted in the same network.
  • Be Restrictive: One of the easiest ways to protect your clients is to restrict user permissions. Well-meaning employees can inadvertently open something containing malware triggers, but if users can’t run downloads, updates and installations, it’ll be harder for them to accidentally let an infection in.
  • Patch, Patch, Patch: Keep your users’ software current. Out of date applications and operating systems are attractive bait for hungry attackers. Use a product that covers patching for Microsoft and third-party updates to eliminate weak points. This is a good preventative defense against all attacks, not just ransomware.

Source: SolarWinds N-able blog

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