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Staying Proactive About Ransomware

New technologies are accelerating the pace of change and have the potential to drive massive growth. This growth is creating massive amounts of data which needs to be stored. Along with the data storage, proper steps need to be undertaken to ensure that our data is secured

In the past 5 months alone, 2 Ontario towns and 2 Children’s Aid Societies have fallen victim to malicious cyber-attacks orchestrated through ransomware; a malware program that is designed to infiltrate, lock or take control of a system—requiring a ransom to rectify the problem.  Spread through infected downloads, emails or website links, ransomware is becoming an increasingly prevalent threat in today’s modern digital landscape.

Who is at Risk?

For organizations and industries who have grown heavily reliant on databases that store either their own or their clients’ confidential data, ransomware poses a serious threat. Healthcare, as well as government databases, are just a few examples of industries who have had to stay increasingly vigilant in order to prevent any unwanted intrusions or breaches of security and confidentiality. Even the almighty Facebook is not immune to data breaches. Just this September, Facebook announced an attack on its network that gave intruders access to 50 million users private information and may result in up to $1.63 billion in fines. According to Symantec General Manager, Ajay Sood these are just the attacks that we hear about, stating “What you’re seeing in the news is a very small part of what has occurred. It’s a small percentage of what’s being reported, a smaller percentage of what’s being detected and an even smaller percentage of what’s been occurring,”

What Can We Do?

Fortunately for us, knowledge is power! By simply being aware of the threats posed to you, there are a variety of steps you can take to best protect yourself from intruders. Steps that can prevent future breaches from occurring and mitigate the effect of ones you may experience.

Norton Antivirus has identified 7 do’s and don’ts to prevent ransomware attacks from occurring:

  1. Don’t pay ransoms, it simply funds future attacks, and doesn’t guarantee your data’s recovery.
  2. Restore impacted files from a secure backup, it’s the quickest way to regain data access.
  3. Do not provide personal information when answering unsolicited messages.
  4. Use a reputable antivirus/firewall, they will protect you from infected downloads or links.
  5. Employ content scanning and filtering on email servers so any attached threats are blocked.
  6. Make sure all systems are up to date, the latest security patches will mitigate vulnerabilities.
  7. Alert your IT department of any travel plans, particularly if you will be using public wi-fi.

If you are interested in reading the full article, you can find it here.

We also have written a blog on some simple measures you can take to help make your database more secure. Overall, the speed at which you can respond to a breach will heavily impact how wide-spread the damage becomes. You want to be able to identify any infection as quickly as possible and isolate it just as fast. Ensuring the issue does not spread is of paramount importance when containing and mitigating the impact of a data breach.

Anti-malware software Malwarebytes found attacks caused 22% of infected small-medium sized business to cease operations immediately, and for 1 in 6, the infection caused 25+ hours of downtime. To avoid becoming a victim of ransomware be proactive about your protection, as it is much simpler (and cheaper) than cleaning up after the mess.

Final Thoughts

Preparation and planning are half the battle when it comes to protecting your data. Preventative measures are better than reactive. So, make sure if your organization is heavily data-reliant, that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure the protection and security of your databases. For some simple tactics you can employ to maintain the security of your system, check out our blog titled Simple Tactics That Make Your Database More Secure. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about database security. With our nearly 30 years experience in software, we know a thing or two about maintaining a secure database.

As always,

Thanks for reading!

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