5 Steps for Responding to a Ransomware Attack

5 Steps for Responding to a Ransomware Attack

5 Steps for Responding to a Ransomware AttackJust when you thought it was safe to go back to work without worrying about potentially becoming a victim of ransomware, the savvy criminals behind these attacks up their game (ex: WannaCry). The fact is while companies may now be well aware of the risks they are facing hackers continue to stay a step ahead, identifying newer vulnerabilities to exploit and finding more effective strategies for getting what they want. In fact, we often say it’s not so much a matter of if you will be attacked, but rather when.

That’s why having a response and remediation plan in place is so important. The sooner you are able to thwart the attack, the less likely you’ll be to have to pony up the ransom. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are five key steps that can help you bounce back quickly from a ransomware incident.

Prepare – Of course, the first step in developing a strong defense to ransomware should always be prevention, as much as possible. IT personnel should be diligent about patching any known vulnerabilities as soon as they’re discovered and also take the appropriate measures to ensure that any and all additional access routes are effectively contained. Also, routinely back up and safely store all important files.

Detect – Effectively guarding against today’s sophisticated cyber-attacks requires the use of advanced threat intelligence technology. These tools are designed to block breach attempts and also alert the security team of a potential incident so that it can be addressed as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that tools like anti-virus software aren’t always effective in detecting ransomware, particularly attacks that are initiated via social engineering.

Contain – One of the biggest reasons why malware is so harmful is that it can spread throughout a network very quickly, effecting as much damage in as little time as possible. The goal of any good ransomware response strategy should be to isolate and contain the virus before it has a chance to proliferate. This can dramatically reduce the potential damage the virus can inflict.

Eradicate – Once the ransomware virus is detected and contained, the next step is to eradicate it from the network. Any machines affected should either be replaced or thoroughly cleaned and continuously monitored thereafter.

Recover – As mentioned above, it’s critical to regularly back up your files. Once you’ve done so, deleting the infected files and restoring the good ones is easy. Your data remains safe and the criminals leave empty handed. As part of the recovery process, an investigation should be conducted to further identify sources of potential vulnerabilities as well as processes and policies that may need revision in order to prevent future attacks.

When it comes to ransomware and other types of cybersecurity threats, there’s no foolproof way to completely eliminate risk. The best way to protect your organization and prevent significant financial and reputational damage is to invest in the right technology. Automated cybersecurity incident response is designed to help with all five phases of ransomware response above – and all without the need for human intervention.

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