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December 18, 2019

How to protect against ransomware attacks …what L.A. businesses need to know

Whether you’re a local grocery store or a large-scale accounting firm, it’ll help to follow these practices on how to protect against ransomware attacks.

Technology has reshaped the world and our lives. Numerous advancements have helped simplify tasks and processes — for businesses, in particular, technology has allowed for more efficient and effective operations. These systems manage data, track processes, and maintain records with minimal manpower and costs. If these systems are compromised, a business and its employees and clients can be put in jeopardy.

One way of properly looking after these systems is by keeping an eye out for issues that could put them at risk. Among the most harmful are malware attacks — specifically ransomware, as these don’t only compromise files and devices but hold them hostage until the ransom is paid in untraceable cryptocurrency. Knowing how to identify and safeguard yourself from these assaults can protect your business from serious damage.

Double up on security and back up data

The simplest way to avoid ransomware attacks is to always be on the lookout. You will never know exactly when an attack will hit, so it pays to err on the side of caution. For starters, having strong passwords is effective in safekeeping information and devices.

The same goes with multifactor authentication and access controls. The former uses an additional identity verification method like SMS activation codes or fingerprint scans to make your accounts more secure. Meanwhile, access controls allow system administrators to limit access to sensitive information based on employee roles and data authorization.

If a ransomware blocks access to your files, you can easily restore these if you have a backup or a clean copy of your data. You can back up data using either cloud storage or an external drive kept off-site. The first option is more accessible and is far more secure when managed proactively by trustworthy providers like Frontline. The second option is less costly and easier to keep away from hackers, but making sure it’s up to date is all on your company.

Avoid downloading and running certain files

You can usually tell if a file is potentially unsafe by its extension. It’s common for malicious software to appear as executable files, or those that end in .exe. Running files of this type pose a danger, as these may contain codes that can execute commands that delete local files or steal information.

With that in mind, you should take extra care before downloading or opening suspicious files. Scan them using a reliable antivirus program to make sure it doesn’t contain any viruses or malware.

Use trusted security software

Investing in good security software is one of the best ways to protect yourself against ransomware attacks. Having a cutting-edge anti-malware program as well as a strong firewall prevents, detects, and removes the latest malware from computer systems. This is better than purchasing brand new computers or operating systems should they be compromised.

Turn off RDP

Some strains of ransomware target systems that use Windows’ Remote Desktop Protocol. This allows users to connect to another computer over a network connection. Talk to your IT support team about it, and if your work doesn’t use this feature, then you can disable it to prevent attackers from accessing your data remotely.

Install the latest patch updates

Cybercriminals typically target outdated systems and software. This is because most still have vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Updating your operating system and installing patches are part of the preventative maintenance necessary to keep your computers up to date, stable, and safe from threats.

By following these fundamental practices, you are essentially minimizing the risk of falling victim to ransomware. To know more about how to protect yourself from ransomware attacks, get in touch with one of the top IT companies in Los Angeles — Frontline. We offer comprehensive IT support, cybersecurity, and technology consulting services. See what we can do for your company by contacting us.

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