How businesses can protect against the threat of ransomware

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With every business these days being a digital one, cybersecurity continues to be a significant concern for those in the boardroom, in cubicles or working remotely, especially with the threat of ransomware looming larger than ever.

This malicious attack method which aims to lock a user out of their own devices or IT system and hold their data hostage for a price is becoming a more popular route of intrusion from cybercriminals.

The method of intrusion is also fairly innocuous, hence its popularity with global IT organisation Phoenix Nap, explaining that clicking on infected links are the primary means of attack employed. The firm’s research also predicts that a new organisation will fall victim to ransomware every 14 seconds in 2019.

Held hostage

As Ivan Weincier, IT project manager at Kyocera Document Solutions SA notes, everyone in a business should make protection against ransomware a priority when implementing their cybersecurity plans.

“Once-upon-a-time, when a company’s backups were on tape, hacking was almost unheard of. But now, data is stored on disk or in the cloud and is at a significantly high ransomware risk,” he recalls.

“Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa is behind equipping its clients and community with the tools necessary to combat the threat of a massive data breach, and in particular, ransomware,” Weincier adds.

The project manager is not simply plugging Kyocera solutions either, as he details a few steps that can be taken in an effort to protect businesses from ransomware.

“Minimising your risk means minimising the loss of access to sensitive data, operational downtime, compliance and legal issues, brand damage and the loss of customers and, financial losses due to the replacement and repair of compromised machines and devices,” he stresses.

Counter measures

The first step is a simple one, but is often overlooked – be clever with your passwords.

Two-factor authentication, in particular, is a more secure method of authorising access. It requires two out of the following three types of credentials: something you know, something you have, and something you are.

Because one of the two required credentials requires physical presence, this step makes it more difficult for a threat actor to compromise your device, explains Weincier.

Next is ensure that you choose a secure network.

Use internet connections you trust, such as your home service. Public networks are not very secure, which makes it easy for others to intercept your data, warns Weincier. If you choose to connect to open networks, consider using antivirus and firewall software on your device.

Another way you can help secure your mobile data is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service, which allows you to connect to the internet securely by keeping your exchanges private while you use Wi-Fi.

Lastly Weincier advises ensuring that you upgrade your software.

Manufacturers issue updates as they discover vulnerabilities in their products. Setting up automatic updates make this easier for many devices, but it’s always advisable to check your devices and update them manually too, the Kyocera IT project manager says.

“When it comes to cybersecurity defence, it’s important to have a holistic approach, using technology, education and preparation to ensure your data remains protected, no matter what attacks are levelled at you,” he concludes.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.