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Ransomware Protection

Ransomware is a type of cyber threat that infects the system and then encrypts the data or disables access for the user. To get control back, the organization or individual is forced to pay the ransom.

Ransomware delivery

Ransomware finds its way into the systems in different ways. Often, it’s the human factor. Users visit unsafe sites or the resources that were previously breached by cybercriminals, click on malicious advertisements, or open attachments and links in fraudulent messages. Also, exploit kits automatically scan systems and software for vulnerabilities.

After the ransomware infiltrates the system, access to data and applications is blocked. The user sees the message demanding the ransom which can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. The malware can spread to the whole network within the organization and paralyze operations, as well as put sensitive data at great risk.

Ransomware attack prevention

There are several tactics that can help minimize the chance of infecting your systems with ransomware:

  • Do not open attachments in suspicious e-mails and never follow links within them. Phishing is a popular way to deliver ransomware. It includes letters from unverified or compromised senders and unrequested messages composed to create a sense of urgency to take action that gives malware access to the system.
  • Make sure to keep your programs updated because cybercriminals keep on searching for new ways to exploit software vulnerabilities.
  • Within organizations, it is important to educate employees on the most secure ways of using their accounts and possible threats including phishing and ransomware.
  • Limit access to the organization’s systems according to The Principle of Least Privilege, which means that employees get access only to the services directly connected to their tasks.
  • This especially applies to the corporate file-sharing services and network resources that can allow the malware to breach numerous systems and devices.
  • Another effective measure is installing solutions that do not allow visiting unsafe websites via the company’s devices.

Unfortunately, after the ransomware attack takes place, the organization might face additional threats that can’t be mitigated even by paying the ransom. The double extortion tactic means that besides blocking access to critical systems, cybercriminals also steal the data. Apart from the risk of paying the double ransom, a data leak can lead to reputation damage and lawsuits. Therefore, after suffering the attack, it is important to consult with cyber security professionals and lawyers and take the following steps:

  • Get in touch with law enforcement and provide all the necessary information about the affected data.
  • Follow national and industry guidelines such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and notify the affected parties.
  • Get a professional analysis of the security vulnerabilities that led to the attack and implement reliable solutions to prevent future breaches.
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Where does DMARC help?

Organizations and their clients are being harmed by malicious emails send on their behalf, DMARC can block these attacks. With DMARC an organization can gain insight into their email channel. Based on the insight this gives, organizations can work on deploying and enforcing a DMARC policy.

When the DMARC policy is enforced to p=reject, organizations are protected against:

  • Phishing on customers of the organization
  • Brand abuse & scams
  • Malware and Ransomware attacks
  • Employees from spear phishing and CEO fraud to happen

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How does endpoint security work?

Organizations can install an endpoint protection platform – EPP – on devices to prevent malicious actors from using malware or other tools to infiltrate their systems. An EPP can be used in conjunction with other detection and monitoring tools to flag suspicious behavior and prevent breaches before they take place.

Endpoint protection offers a centralized management console to which organizations can connect their network. The console allows administrators to monitor, investigate and respond to potential cyber threats. This can either be achieved through an on-location, cloud, or hybrid approach.

Can firewalls mitigate ransomware attacks?

A properly configured and placed next generation firewall can detect and prevent ransomware from either entering or your data leaving your organization network. Only a next generation firewall will help, as it inspects your traffic in real time and identifies threats, breaches, and unnatural activity.

How does a SOC as service help protect against ransomware?

Because hackers or bad actors are continuously improving their skills and learning new methods of attack with their ransomware, your organization needs to stay up to date on what hackers are doing and the new technology that can thwart their attacks. Internal teams cannot do that, but experts that run SOC as a Service can. They will be able to catch the ransomware before it enters your network or quickly upon its infiltration, saving your organization risk in the process. Additionally, a SOC will log all information coming and going from your network so it will notice anomalies quickly. SOC as a Service will also use file integrity monitoring (FIM) to identify changes in files, which can alert the experts to potential threats or thefts. When ransomware infiltrates a network, it often works by copying itself and traversing through the network with different names. So, a team could find and remove the initial ransomware file, but its copies can pop up later. SOC as a Service can help identify the hidden malware, preventing reinfection.

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How to protect the AD against Ransomware?

AD provides the foundation for all your accounts and internal domain assets. This makes it a prime target for ransomware attacks and why it is so imperative to create a strategic security plan to protect your AD infrastructure.

The best way to interrupt a threat actor’s attempts to hold the environment for ransom is to make it harder for them. Places to start:

  1. Clean up Active Directory: Create a tiered account setup, limit the use of administrator accounts, then deprovision and remove user accounts no longer used.
  2. Use network segmentation to your advantage: For example, user systems should be able to access some servers, but servers rarely need to initiate network communications to user systems.
  3. Add multi-factor authentication to everything: This means any entry point, any jump point, even including web-based services.
  4. Backup early, backup often: This is a great time to figure out what, and where, your critical assets are. Not just business-critical ones, either—think about domain controllers that hold Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) roles. Also consider where these backups are being stored and what will happen to them if your domain administrator account is compromised.
  5. Re-evaluate your disaster recovery (DR) plan: Ransomware that impacts business operations is a critical event worthy of a specific section. You should think of it like the effect of a hurricane taking out your data center. Evaluate how long you can be down, and then adding that timeframe to your practice exercises of migrating services to a DR site.

Related Events


NGN Majlis: 4 Part Ransomware Series

With ransomware on the rise, understanding how a ransomware attack operates is key to preparing your organization’s defenses. Putting together and testing an incident response plan is essential to limiting any potential damage.

Join us a 4 Part Ransomware Series to learn how to:

  • Effectively respond when an attack is detected
  • Gather evidence to craft a contextual response that remediates the attack
  • Better secure your environment against future attacks

Register Now!

Ilya Leonov

Chief Technology Officer


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