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Ransomware - don’t be a soft target

Protect yourself against ransomware by following four basic rules of thumb

Richard Price
Head of Enterprise Security Portfolio

Ransomware is big news – recent high profile attacks like WannaCry and Petya have focused both the media and the public’s attention on this rapidly growing dimension of cyber-crime. And when cyber security is headline news, it is easy to think you need to take extra steps to protect your business - but actually the best protection from ransomware is the same good practice that forms the backbone of all good enterprise cyber security.

Protect yourself against ransomware by following these four basic rules of thumb:

  1. Stay current – keep software up-to-date, and always apply security patches when they become available. Most ransomware relies on exploiting known vulnerabilities in software to infect systems – patching prevents infection. WannaCry gave a very clear demonstration of the importance of patching for known vulnerabilities, catching out businesses who could have avoided it and Microsoft even released a patch for Windows XP systems.

  2. Back up your data – this was essential hygiene before malicious software even existed, and it is still the single best defence against data loss. Simply put, if you have a copy of your data, ransomware criminals have nothing to hold hostage! Having a multi-generational backup system can ensure that even if your backups are corrupted, you can always find a clean version.

  3. Use essential security protections – network, email and endpoint security all protect against many of the attack techniques ransomware is known to use. At the very least, they can provide you with an early warning of an infection before all of your data is encrypted and held to ransom.

  4. Don’t click on the link! – the vast majority of ransomware still uses fake emails to propagate itself. Spreading via malicious web content or even bogus apps are other common tactics. Ensure your users are aware of the threat from phishing and encourage them to view emails and links with a critical eye. Is that email really from your bank?

Ransomware is the fastest-growing cyber threat right now. Recently we have seen the intense disruption that large-scale outbreaks can cause and the widespread, unwanted attention this can bring to your business. To stay safe, start with the basics – don’t be a soft target.

Cyber security is a key concern for organisations of all sizes. Protecting devices, networks, data and apps is an essential component of doing business. Vodafone provides security products and services to businesses of all sizes, helping you secure your business anywhere because we are everywhere. We are trusted by organisations globally, including utilities, financial institutions and government agencies. For more cyber security insights, you can find us on LinkedIn.

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