Cybercriminals are no longer interested in simply gaining passwords and credit card information. The goal is to inflict as much discomfort to people who need assistance to put pressure on companies to pay a ransom to the responsible cybercriminal. If you’re a business in Detroit, you are a target. Here are five tips to protect your business.
5 Tips Metro-Detroit Businesses Can Use to Prevent Ransomware
Detroit joins the increasing number of major cities finding themselves under attack by cybercriminals. Using ransomware, these bad actors put businesses into the unfortunate position of having to pay the ransom or risk losing their business. Not only are individual businesses being targeted, but even municipalities in large cities like Detroit.
Cybercriminals understand that any organization that the public depends upon for services can be leveraged to pay the ransom. Organizations such as schools, hospitals, and other essential service providers have and continue to be targeted. As Detroit is the home of a wide range of businesses, public and private, there is no doubt that we will continue to be targeted. Here are five tips your business can and should enact to protect itself from ransomware attacks.
1. Beware of links and attachments inside of emails
The majority of ransomware attacks are due to team members falling for phishing and other types of suspicious emails. This makes spam and content filtering essential to reducing the number of potentially contaminated emails that may reach your team. Managing your email is critical because cybercriminals use the links and attachments within emails as a method to bypass your security protocols.
The best security protocols available can be bypassed if a team member physically downloads a piece of malware onto their workstation. While you may not constantly monitor your team, you can create a series of steps to prevent your entire network from being compromised. These measures should include controlling who can access your system, sensible backups, and of course, multi-factor authentication.
2. Train your team to recognize suspicious emails
While popular fiction is full of hoodie-wearing hackers breaking into computer systems, the reality is most lapses in cybersecurity are due to human error. This is why you must train your team to recognize phishing and other social engineering tactics. These tactics effectively bypass many security protocols because they use human behavior to trick your team into performing an action that can expose your network.
Your team is your biggest asset and weakest link in cybersecurity, and it makes good business sense to ensure they benefit your business instead of worrying if they’re going to hinder it. However, the only way you can do so is to invest resources to make sure they do, requiring training.
3. Enact multifactor authentication and other identification protocols
One issue that businesses face is making it easy for their team, customers, and vendors to access the information they need on the network. Unfortunately, to do so, many organizations take shortcuts, such as using universal passwords or allowing unrestricted access to their data. This practice is often the culprit when determining how a cybercriminal could gain access to the entire network after they only compromised a team member or vendor’s credentials.
As we mentioned above, multi-Factor Authentication (MFA, and sometimes referred to as two-factor authentication or 2FA) protects the network by requiring several factors to be confirmed before access is granted. These factors include the typical password normally used to log in, as well as some other proof that you are who you say you are. This is typically a code sent to a mobile device or generated by a digital key the user has on their person.
Access privileges work to limit access to data based on the need to know. There is no reason a team member should have access to your financial information or admin access to your database. By limiting access, you segregate a potential breach to the lowest rung of your information and data hub.
4. Keep your systems updated
Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for openings they can exploit. Out-of-date hardware and software are the low-hanging fruit they can always count on. Consider vulnerabilities “holes” that allow cybercriminals to enter your network. Obsolete technology can expose your system to vulnerabilities cybercriminals use to gain this access. Moreover, out-of-date software and hardware expose your business to vulnerabilities that cannot be addressed because the vendors have abandoned the technology. This means the longer you use unpatched technology; the more likely the chances your systems will eventually be compromised. It’s just a matter of time as to when.
5. Develop a backup and recovery plan
Back up your files! While the other four tips are great to protect your data, when it comes to cybercriminals, they are always trying to find a way around them. As such, it always pays to have a “plan B.” In this case, the “B” stands for backup. Your backup will allow you to remain in control of your data if a cybercriminal can install ransomware into your system.
Finally, your backup should be part of your overall technology plan because ransomware isn’t the only disaster you need to protect your business from. Your backup protects against human error and natural disasters, granting your company the ability to recover if the unexpected happens. Your data is your biggest asset, and losing access to it can put your business in an untenable position.
Detroit Businesses, Are Your Cybersecurity Defenses Sufficient?
If you’re not sure if your business will survive a ransomware attack, now is the time to invest the resources needed to ensure your business is ready. While individually, the six tips we mentioned are an effective method to protect your data, they truly shine when combined into one comprehensive solution. This is where managed IT comes in. Managed IT offers a wide range of services designed to work together, augmenting your business’ technology.
We are Detroit’s premier managed IT provider. We support businesses in Detroit and throughout Michigan with tools designed to help your business make the most out of the technology your business relies on. Give us a call at 248.545.0800 to learn more.