Ransomware attacks are the latest technique being employed by hackers and other malicious parties. Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts files on a device, causing those files as well as any systems that rely on them to be unusable. These hackers then demand a ransom in exchange for decrypting the files, possibly threatening to sell or leak data or other sensitive information if the ransom amount is not met.
The Colonial Pipeline was the latest victim of these attacks. The pipeline was hit by hackers on May 7th, a devastating ransomware attack that resulted in almost a week-long shutdown of the largest fuel conduit on the East Coast. The Colonial Pipeline Co. paid hackers $4.4 million in ransom after these hackers had encrypted much of its network.
KCS recognizes that there is increased cybersecurity concern as a result of this recent attack. While ransomware attacks or other types of cyberattacks are a scary possibility for businesses, there are some vital steps that you can take to bolster your business’s security and protect it from hackers.
1) Changing your passwords and storing them in a password manager
The first, and perhaps the simplest, step you can take is to change your passwords on a regular basis. Changing passwords regularly can reduce the risk of hackers gaining access to sensitive information on your accounts. However, each new password must be unique to the previous one, as only making simple, incremental changes can result in hackers guessing new passwords.
Having to remember all of these new, unique passwords can be difficult. Password managers act as encrypted digital vaults to securely store login information, making it easy to keep track of your passwords. These tools ensure that your business can enjoy the benefits of regularly changing login credentials without burdening your employees with the need to remember countless passwords.
2) Enable two-factor authentication
Similar to changing your password, two-factor authentication makes it more difficult for hackers to access your accounts. Enabling two-factor authentication boosts account cybersecurity by requiring those logging in to also confirm their identity using a previously authenticated phone number or mobile app.
3) Train staff to identify threats
Ensure that your staff can identify possible threats to cybersecurity, such as phishing and spear phishing. These two types of attacks are incredibly common ways that hackers attempt to gain access to sensitive data, and they’re popular for a reason: they can seem harmless and be difficult for staff to detect. Phishing and spear-phishing attacks manifest in the form of fraudulent emails that seek to scam recipients.
To avoid these attacks, staff should be trained on how to identify phishing attempts. Employees should never open a file, follow a link, or share a password in an email unless they can verify the sender’s identity.
4) Backup your files
Regularly backing up your files can provide your business with various cybersecurity benefits. Backups ensure that, if your business is the victim of a cybersecurity attack, you can’t be held for ransom because you’ve already saved a copy of the unencrypted data elsewhere.
5) Update your software
While it may be easy to put off software updates, retaining an out-of-date system renders a business vulnerable to cyberattacks through unpatched software. Thus, making sure all software and operating systems are up to date is a critical step in protecting yourself and your data.
Businesses can also increase protection by moving to a cloud-based solution, where software and data are stored in state-of-the-art data centers guarded by stringent anti-virus software, and data is backed up automatically at regular intervals.
Defend your business against cyberattacks
Ransomware and other cyberattacks can be intimidating possibilities, but ensuring you take these steps to maintain your cybersecurity can protect your business from hackers or other malicious parties seeking to access your data.
If you’re interested in talking to someone about backup processes, installing anti-virus software or moving to the cloud, please reach out to us at email@example.com or request a software demo.