9 Things You Can Do NOW to Stop Cybercrime
by Walt Westfall, Director of Solutions Architecture, cStor
Our partner in crime-fighting, Sophos, takes a look at cybercrime and suggests nine tools every business can use now to safeguard against cyber attack. We share them with you, here. Pass them on to your team. Stay strong.
Businesses large and small are under threat from increasingly aggressive computer viruses and brutal malicious ransomware attacks like Cryptolocker, Cryptowall, Locky, and others. Loss of access to important and crucial files, followed by a demand for payment can cause massive disruption to an organization’s productivity.
Looking at the technology and IT industry as a whole, there are endless facts and news stories to inform us that cybercrime, especially ransomware, is on the rise, and is also developing into more intelligent forms of the virus.
‘One cybersecurity firm estimates that extortive attacks now cost small and medium companies at least $75 billion in expenses and lost productivity each year.’ – theatlantic.com
Taking the costs into consideration, companies can no longer sit back and hope everything is going to be okay – when that is the case, it’s always too late to act, the damage will be done and there’s no reversing or protecting a business after an attack. This can cost business’ thousands, if not millions, depending on the size of the firm and how demanding the hacker is.
‘Cyber-criminals collected $209 million in the first three months of 2016 by extorting businesses and institutions to unlock computer servers.’ – cnn.com
Taking the seriousness of an attack into consideration, can any business really afford not to be protected? Importantly, are most employees aware of what ‘suspicious’ files look like? What exactly do we you need to look out for when suspecting an attack? And what does a ransomware attack look like?
Staying secure against ransomware isn’t just about having the latest security solutions. Good IT security practices, including regular training for employees are essential components of every single security setup. Make sure you’re following these nine best practices:
1. Backup regularly and keep a recent backup copy off-line and off-site
There are dozens of ways other than ransomware that files can suddenly vanish, such as fire, flood, theft, a dropped laptop or even an accidental delete. Encrypt your backup and you won’t have to worry about the backup device falling into the wrong hands.
2. Enable file extensions
4. Don’t enable macros in document attachments received via email
Microsoft deliberately turned off auto-execution of macros by default many years ago as a security measure. A lot of infections rely on persuading you to turn macros back on, so don’t do it!
5. Be cautious about unsolicited attachments
The crooks are relying on the dilemma that you shouldn’t open a document until you are sure it’s one you want, but you can’t tell if it’s one you want until you open it. If in doubt leave it out.
6. Don’t give yourself more login power than you need
Don’t stay logged in as an administrator any longer than is strictly necessary and avoid browsing, opening documents or other regular work activities while you have administrator rights.
7. Consider installing the Microsoft Office viewers
These viewer applications let you see what documents look like without opening them in Word or Excel. In particular, the viewer software doesn’t support macros, so you can’t enable them by mistake!
8. Patch early, patch often
Malware that doesn’t come in via a document often relies on security bugs in popular applications, including Microsoft Office, your browser, Flash and more. The sooner you patch, the fewer holes there are to be exploited.
9. Stay up-to-date with new security features in your business applications
For example Office 2016 now includes a control called “Block macros from running in Office files from the internet”, which helps protect against external malicious content without stopping you using macros internally.
Contact cStor for a free evaluation of your cyber security vulnerabilities. Together, we can fight the viruses, bugs, and malware that threaten a healthy datacenter.