Advanced techniques to keep your systems secure against ransomware attacks

June 24th, 2021

We recently shared our list of the top 5 ways small business owners can protect their business from Ransomware attacks. These quick tips can be implemented by most business owners with little technical support, but if you want to take it a step further, consider working with a tech team.

Ransomware is a serious threat for businesses, with the average payout as of Q4 2020 estimated at $220,298. Working with a tech team gives you a knowledgeable guide to help you prepare your systems and safeguard against attack.

Advanced techniques to keep your systems secure against ransomware attacks:

  1. Establish effective firewall rules
  2. Create email filtering systems
  3. Configure computer workstation settings

Establish effective firewall rules 

Cargo ships are not allowed 

If you host your own network you need an enterprise grade firewall. Without a firewall, your internal system can be found and accessed by anyone – including those who should not be there. 

Just like cargo ships are required to use their own lanes instead of sailing with smaller vessels, firewalls establish rules that limit traffic to your network. Your firewall tells outside traffic that it is not expected or welcome. 

Your ISP router (internet service provider) should not be your last line of defense from attacks, it will leave you vulnerable. Set your Firewall rules to protect your system and keep your incoming traffic restricted to those who should be coming to port. 

Create email filtering systems

Only keep the right catches

When boaters go fishing they rarely keep all the fish, instead, they filter them. Wise fishermen decide which fish to keep based on a variety of variables. You should do the same with your emails.

If your email software provides proactive scans of incoming emails to weed out phishing links and malware attachments, then use it! If your email software doesn’t offer this service, there are third-party services that can support automated filtering on your systems. 

Although filtering is not a requirement to safeguard your business, it can be a effective automated tool to prevent phishing emails and malware from reaching your employees. Pair filtering with training or simulated phishing emails to help your employees prepare for a real attack.

Configure computer workstation settings

Know your latitude and longitude coordinates 

When the storm hits, it’s easy to get lost. Prepare your business for the oncoming storm by creating warning signs and protocols that keep your work stations safe. 

First, make sure all of your employee computers show file extensions. A file extension declares the file type and is typically represented by a period and three letters – like “.pdf”.By default, Windows machines shorten the extensions to make file names more user friendly, but hiding the extension can also be dangerous. Malware files with hidden extensions pose a sneaky threat to unprepared users. Set your team up for success by forcing visible extensions and disallowing the ability to change them. 

Second, if you have older Windows machines that are no longer supported, consider upgrading. Older machines used to have a setting called SMBv1 which has been phased out of Microsoft systems since 2016. The SMBv1 protocol was discovered when hackers broke into NSA systems and deployed ransomware exploiting the vulnerability.SMBv1 allows remote code execution on your computer and creates a quick entry-point for attack.

3 out of 4 small businesses say they don’t have sufficient personnel to address IT security.  If your business is not prepared for a ransomware attack, Coretechs can help.