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Kevin Henry - 4 tips to avoid ransomware

The proliferation and ease of ransomware infections underlines the importance of good security practices. Like the examples of high-seas piracy that have persisted over the years there is no quick or easy cure.

Doing business in a networked world involves risk. Trading on the high seas is both profitable and necessary for the economy to exist, but the adversaries are numerous, capable and determined. Since the adversaries are based in many international locations the identification and prosecution of the thieves is difficult and maybe nearly impossible.

I personally thought that the attacks against very critical services such as healthcare and infrastructure would spur governments into concerted action. But that has not happened – perhaps for many reasons that I will not speculate on.

I will not advise whether or not to pay the ransom. We have seen cases where essential business operations would be crippled resulting in enormous impact to millions of people and perhaps the ransom was justified. But do we want to support criminal activity? Tough question.

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So what should we do?

The contrast between an essential business operation but an uncontrollable threat? We need to communicate and network globally in order to reach our clients, citizens and  suppliers. We cannot count on law enforcement to be a deterrence to attacks, and the cost of attacks is increasing and onerous.

Becoming a victim of ransomware may be unavoidable.

Many organizations that have excellent security people on staff or are working with top-flight consulting firms have become victims despite their best efforts.

(There were many others that became victims through poor practices, but let’s look for solutions not blame).

 

3 Tips to get prepared

Backup

CONSTANTLY Backup, practice restoring systems until it becomes second nature (automate it if possible).

Culture

Educate and create a security conscious culture, preferably auto-updated but also regularly checking.

Plan

Have plans in place to be ready for an attack. Address communications with clients, employees, suppliers, media and regulatory bodies.

So what should we do?

The contrast between an essential business operation but an uncontrollable threat? We need to communicate and network globally in order to reach our clients, citizens and  suppliers. We cannot count on law enforcement to be a deterrence to attacks, and the cost of attacks is increasing and onerous.

I will not advise whether or not to pay the ransom. We have seen cases where essential business operations would be crippled resulting in enormous impact to millions of people and perhaps the ransom was justified. But do we want to support criminal activity? Tough question.

Becoming a victim of ransomware may be unavoidable. Many organizations that have excellent security people on staff or are working with top-flight consulting firms have become victims despite their best efforts. (There were many others that became victims through poor practices, but let’s look for solutions not blame).

Be safe – be secure

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