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    The Dos & Don’ts Against Ransomware And Phishing Attempts

    Since the start of the pandemic, the network chains have been scattered around more than ever before. This way, the firmness of such chains has loosened, causing cyber threats to potentially be more impactful. The constant generating of personal information and data attracts cyber attackers, who continuously come up with new ransomware threats and phishing attempts.

    Ransomware Infection Can Be Disastrous

    In this period when the number of people that remotely accesses the company systems has seen an exponential increase, data breaches can be vital. Ransomware, which is among the most used attack methods, encrypts all accessible copies of data and tries to sell the key to the user. In other words, it takes advantage of the breached data and blackmails the user about the important knowledge they’ve gained over sensitive topics. If the requested cryptocurrency is not paid within a certain period of time, owners of the ransomware expose the data.

    Ways to Deal With Ransomware Threats

    First of all, numerous software patches must be conducted to keep systems up to date. Cyber ​​attackers that use malware are trying to infiltrate company networks via abusing some undetected vulnerabilities within their software. According to a survey by security company Tripwire, one in three IT professionals said their company was infiltrated through an unpatched vulnerability. Thus, the validity of the patches should be constantly in check.

    Secondly, the devices that are connected to the network should be frequently monitored. Recognizing requests from devices that are connected to the main network is one of the most important areas of protection against malware. If the monitoring is missed, an evil ransomware gang can detect some vulnerabilities of the remote access doors. The more preferable scenario is having ethical hackers discover those potentially infected computers.

    Moreover, the most important data should be determined and an effective backup strategy should be implemented. It is very important to operate backups of important data to protect it against cyber attackers. If crypto ransomware enters the system and captures some devices, the data can be restored thanks to a recent backup, and the related devices can become operational in a short time. Yet, the first move of a hacker is almost always to cut access to those backups, so strong protection of those backups is also essential.

    Furthermore, companies should better develop an extensive crisis management strategy and test it. In other words, a strategy to be developed against any disaster scenario should be a standard part of corporate plans without a doubt. The scope of this strategy should go beyond computer software cleaning and installing backups, including  what needs to be said to customers, suppliers and the press in case of an emergency. The first reaction of the company that encounters such a scenario is to deny the situation or point out a different problem.

    However, the truth spreads quickly and the effort to cover up the situation undermines the trust. Every company should remember that there is an undiscovered vulnerability. Timely testing of strategies to prevent a possible error can help prevent a bigger problem.

    Finally, companies should educate their employees about suspicious emails. Email infected systems can be quite bothersome if they aren’t dealt with immediately. Ransomware often spreads via email because it’s easy to send a large number of emails.

    These emails are in fact trap messages and they were easily recognizable in the past. Yet, they are now designed with highly sophisticated methods that are indistinguishable from simple ordinary mails. As a result, it became one of the most common methods used by cyber attackers.

    Email Phishing Scam Is On The Rise

    According to Verizon Enterprise’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DIBR) email phishing is the second most common method used in cyberattacks. It constitutes 22 percent of the data breaches within companies. Nowadays, the trend is to distract users with COVID-19-themed items to infiltrate devices. Barracuda Networks figures underline that the number of emails using the pandemic to reach users increased 6 times from 137 in January 2020 to 9.116 in March. Cyber ​​attackers are using a method called spray-and-pray and wish one of the thousands of people they send the email to be on the hook. However, it is possible to avoid phishing attempts quite easily by: checking the URL of the forwarded malicious links before clicking, the presence or absence of a generic address, or spelling and logic mistakes in the email that can expose cyber attackers.

    How to Be Proactive Against Cyber Security Threats?

    This question is the most critical one for the cyber security teams. For companies, the most suitable way to detect a cyber attack is via scouting. However, to perform scouting, the company must have an advanced request registration and developed response systems. With these, they can examine the details of alarms or place feeds called “honeypots” into their systems. They are baits which are placed in remote corners of the company’s network.

    While the attacker is examining the system, they spot an artificially created security vulnerability thanks to the honeypots, and they act. With that bait, companies can watch the attackers and learn what they are trying to do and how they attack. In this way, companies can prevent the attack or find solutions to it at a very early stage.

    Even though the computer reached often does not contain the data in demand, it is a data breach nonetheless. Once they have managed to infiltrate, they spread within the system by accessing other computers and servers with the movement called “lateral movement”.

    As security teams, our goal should be to be aware of it at the earliest stage possible because the earlier it is caught, the  loss is minimized. So, detailed vulnerability management is a must. According to IBM and Ponemon Institute ,attackers approximately spend an average of 6 months in the systems before getting detected.

    Conclusion

    Being a victim of ransomware attacks or phishing emails can inflict serious damage to any company. Their crucial pieces of information can be stolen and the whole network system might collapse. Plus, high ransom payments can be quite frustrating. Therefore, a proactive approach must be equipped to prevent these disastrous scenarios.

    To spot patch vulnerabilities, to improve cyber security strength or to keep the whole system on guard in case of a wrong click, cyber security should not be overlooked. Thus, an efficient and effective approach to improving the protection of precious digital assets is absolutely necessary BugBounter can provide companies with that type of  service thanks to its crowdsourced multi-talented ethical hacker ecosystem.

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