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Top 10 Ways to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

by Bill McGee, Fortinet

  1. Develop a backup and recovery plan. Back up your systems regularly, and store that backup offline on a separate device.
  2. Use professional email and web security tools that analyze email attachments, websites, and files for malware, and can block potentially compromised advertisements and social media sites that have no business relevance. These tools should include sandbox functionality, so that new or unrecognized files can be executed and analyzed in a safe environment.
  3. Keep your operating systems, devices, and software patched and updated.
  4. Make sure that your device and network antivirus, IPS, and antimalware tools are running the latest updates.
  5. Where possible, use application whitelisting, which prevents unauthorized applications to be downloaded or run.
  6. Segment your network into security zones, so that an infection in one area cannot easily spread to another.
  7. Establish and enforce permission and privilege, so that the fewest number of users have the potential to infect business-critical applications, data, or services.
  8. Establish and enforce a BYOD security policy which can inspect and block devices which do not meet your standards for security (no client or antimalware installed, antivirus files are out of date, operating systems need critical patches, etc.)
  9. Deploy forensic analysis tools so that after an attack you can identify a) where the infection came from, b) how long it has been in your environment, c) that you have removed all of it from every device, and d) that you can ensure it doesn’t come back.
  10. THIS IS CRITICAL: Do NOT count on your employees to keep you safe. While it is still important to up-level your user awareness training so employees are taught to not download files, click on email attachments, or follow unsolicited web links in emails, human beings are the most vulnerable link in your security chain, and you need to plan around them.
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