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7 strategies to proactively defend against ransomware attacks

Latest Update: 24/05/2024

7 strategies to proactively defend against ransomware attacks

According to the latest Thales Data Threat Report 2024, the number of companies targeted by ransomware attacks increased by 27% compared to the previous year, with 8% of them having to pay a ransom. Facing this common challenge, Vietnam is no exception as it recorded a significant number of ransomware attacks. The Authority of Information Security (Ministry of Information and Communications) has warned about the rise of ransomware attacks. In the first three months of 2024, there were 2,323 cyberattacks on information systems in Vietnam. Given this situation, implementing proactive strategies against ransomware is not just necessary, but mandatory for businesses. Below are common security vulnerabilities often exploited and seven strategies that every organization should consider to protect themselves from these cyberattacks.

Security vulnerabilities are the main target of ransomware attacks

Ransomware, one of the most serious threats to cybersecurity today, often seeks out security vulnerabilities to attack and spread. To better understand how ransomware exploits these vulnerabilities, let's review the common types of security vulnerabilities they typically target:

1. Software vulnerabilities

  • Zero-day vulnerabilities: These are vulnerabilities that software developers have not yet detected or patched. Ransomware takes advantage of these vulnerabilities because they allow attacks without any preventive measures from the victim.
  • Vulnerabilities in popular software: This includes vulnerabilities in operating systems, web browsers, office software, and other common applications. These weaknesses are frequently exploited by ransomware.
  • Vulnerabilities in outdated software: Software that is not updated properly is an easy target for ransomware. These vulnerabilities are often already known and have available patches, but if users do not update, they enable cybercriminals to attack.

2. Hardware vulnerabilities

  • Firmware vulnerabilities: Device firmware may contain vulnerabilities that ransomware attacks can use to infiltrate systems.
  • Vulnerabilities in IoT devices: IoT devices such as IP cameras and routers often have poor security, posing a potential weakness for ransomware attacks.

3. System configuration vulnerabilities

Incorrect security configuration: Weak passwords and uncontrolled access are common vulnerabilities that ransomware attacks can use to infiltrate systems. Incorrect software configuration: Unsafe default settings are an easy target for ransomware when users do not follow necessary security measures.

4. User errors

According to the 2024 Thales Data Threat Report, user errors were identified as the leading cause of data breaches for two consecutive years. Here are some behaviors that increase the risk of ransomware attacks:

  • Clicking on or downloading malicious links/attachments: Ransomware is often distributed through phishing emails or malicious advertisements.
  • Downloading software from untrusted sources: Such as cracked software or file-sharing websites can lead to ransomware infections.
  • Using unknown USB drives: USB drives infected with malware can be a source of ransomware infection when plugged into a system.

Additionally, ransomware can also spread through file-sharing networks, malware-infected peripheral devices, and vulnerabilities in web services. Protecting systems from ransomware requires understanding and addressing these vulnerabilities.

In the next section, we will examine seven optimal strategies to proactively prevent ransomware attacks.

Proactive measures to prevent ransomware

Proactive measures to prevent ransomware Proactive measures to prevent ransomware

1. Understanding ransomware and its operational mechanisms

"To develop an effective and comprehensive strategy against ransomware attacks, businesses need to equip themselves with knowledge about ransomware such as its types, operational mechanisms, and the negative impact it can have on businesses. Understanding how ransomware operates, from the infiltration process to the encryption process and ransom demands, will help businesses build appropriate and effective security measures. In today's high-risk digital world, knowledge and readiness are key to protecting your information systems from increasingly sophisticated ransomware threats.

2. Regularly updating software and managing software patches

Ransomware often exploits software vulnerabilities to infiltrate systems and cause harm. Regularly updating and patching operating systems, applications, and firmware is crucial for minimizing security vulnerabilities that attackers may exploit.

Strictly implementing a software patch management process ensures that all software components are updated and vulnerabilities are promptly addressed. This way, businesses can minimize the risk of ransomware attacks by preventing exploitation of software vulnerabilities.

Automating the update and patching process is also an effective solution to ensure that your systems are continuously protected against potential threats. In today's high-risk digital world, this is not just a defensive measure but an essential part of a comprehensive strategy against ransomware.

3. Enhancing staff awareness

In today's digital environment, awareness of ransomware is not just the responsibility of cybersecurity experts but of every member within the organization. Properly training employees on ransomware is a crucial step in enhancing their ability to prevent and respond to attacks. This helps them understand how attacks occur and how to protect against them, especially from phishing emails containing malicious attachments or links.

Businesses should conduct regular training sessions and create specialized materials to raise awareness of ransomware and promote the adoption of cybersecurity best practices. By doing so, organizations can not only minimize the risk of ransomware attacks but also protect their important data comprehensively and efficiently.

4. Data backup and recovery plan

To counter the threat of ransomware, planning and regularly backing up important data is essential (ensuring that backups are stored securely, isolated from the main network). A data backup plan is only truly effective when the restoration process is carried out smoothly and accurately. Periodic testing and updating of the recovery plan help ensure that any issues related to data restoration are promptly and accurately resolved.

By doing so, businesses can enhance their resilience following cyberattacks and minimize the negative impact on their operations.

5. Network segmentation and minimal access control

Network segmentation is one of the key measures to prevent the spread of ransomware within an organization. By dividing the network into smaller, manageable segments, businesses can limit the ability of ransomware to spread from one part of the network to others. This helps isolate and control the impact of ransomware in the event of an attack.

However, merely segmenting the network without implementing strict access controls poses a major vulnerability in the cybersecurity system. A crucial part of an anti-ransomware strategy is implementing access controls based on the principle of least privilege. This ensures that users and applications have access only to the resources and data necessary for their work.

By limiting the attack surface, organizations can protect critical data and minimize the risk of ransomware attacks while also strengthening cybersecurity comprehensively.

6. Risk analysis and incident response planning

When facing the risk of ransomware attacks, having a response and incident recovery plan ready is essential to minimize the negative impact to the fullest extent possible.

This plan should not be a general outline but should detail specific and comprehensive steps (short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans) to isolate infected systems, communicate with relevant parties, and restore systems as efficiently as possible.

In practice, regular drills play an important role in proactively responding to ransomware attacks. These exercises help each individual train and familiarize themselves with response procedures, ensuring prompt and coordinated action in the event of an attack.

7. Utilizing security solutions for real-time monitoring and prevention of attacks

Implementing advanced security solutions, such as leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), not only helps analyze and detect suspicious behavior but also timely prevents potential threats before they can cause severe consequences.

For businesses, especially those with limited resources, selecting security solutions from providers becomes an optimal choice. With highly skilled security experts, robust infrastructure, and modern technology, security solutions offer strong layers of protection, enabling businesses to comprehensively defend against ransomware attacks.

Among the advantages of security solution providers, Managed Detection & Response (MDR) services stand out. These services provide customers with the functions of a Security Operations Center (SOC) run by a team of security experts, with the goal of reporting, detecting, analyzing, and quickly handling threats. This helps minimize operational disruptions and reduce potential damage to businesses.

In today's challenging digital world, seeking support and prevention from professional cybersecurity firms is not only an optimal strategy but also a necessary step to safeguard the safety and stability of a business.

Preventing Ransomware Attacks: Comprehensive Email Security Solutions for Businesses

To help businesses effectively respond to the current complex situation of ransomware attacks, VNETWORK offers the EG-Platform Comprehensive Email Security Platform to ensure safe and professional email sending and receiving. With over 10 years of experience in the security industry, VNETWORK is recognized as a Scientific and Technological Enterprise by the Ministry of Science and Technology under the certification number: 59/DNKHCN, and has achieved ISO 27001 and ISO 20000-1 security standards. It is also recommended by reputable security organization Gartner.

Comprehensive email security solution Comprehensive email security solution EG-Platform

Comprehensive email security mechanism of EG-Platform

Accordingly, EG-Platform's email firewall solution ensures safe and efficient email sending and receiving through three filtering stages:

  • SpamGUARD: Effectively blocks spam and junk mail (Anti-Spam Inbound).
  • ReceiveGUARD: Protects against phishing mail, ransomware, targeted attacks (APT, BEC), viruses, and malware.
  • SendGUARD: Manages and controls emails before sending.

Using advanced and intelligent email security technology, EG-Platform handles all types of targeted email attacks, detects and blocks various viruses and emerging email threats with outstanding features including:

  • Machine Learning technology: Automatically analyzes and learns from attack data, helping quickly and effectively detect and prevent new email security threats.
  • AI technology: Enhances the ability to recognize and block sophisticated and complex attacks.
  • Virtual area: Checks and analyzes incoming emails to identify harmful behavior from new, unlisted viruses, effectively filtering and blocking harmful emails.
  • Conversion to images: Converts email content to images if malicious links are detected, preventing users from clicking on virus-containing links.
  • Email transmission inspection and analysis: Quickly notifies and addresses suspicious signals, unusual changes in the received email transmission, minimizing damage and ensuring safe user operations.
  • Comprehensive and detailed reports from the system: Provides complete, continuous information about the attack situation and status of emails for users to adjust their email usage behavior in a timely manner.
  • Flexible customization based on needs: Helps users enhance security capabilities while ensuring convenient email usage.

Conclusion

Given the increasingly complex developments of ransomware attacks, especially through email, choosing the right email security solution is a critical factor for businesses. It directly impacts the safety and stability of the system, as well as user experience, reputation, and business operations. With an intelligently integrated protection mechanism and tightly linked data from three modern email security solutions, EG-Platform is the comprehensive and effective email security platform that optimizes user protection against all types of email attacks, including ransomware. For more information and a quote, please contact us at hotline: +84 (028) 7306 8789 or email: contact@vnetwork.vn.

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