Many victims of ransomware attacks are turning to No More Ransom to have their data unlocked for free but the best way to beat cyber crime is by improving IT security.
Since No More Ransom’s launch a year ago, around 28,000 computers locked by ransomware attacks have been decrypted. It’s a collaboration between the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Netherlands, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre and two cyber security companies McAfee and Kapersky Lab.
Victims’ computers are unlocked free of charge. There’s no need to enter any email address, complete a survey or hand over credit card details.
This is certainly a welcome alternative to losing all your data or paying money to criminals to have your computer unlocked. However, the best way to deal with the threat of ransomware is to protect your business sufficiently to avoid the threat in the first place by putting in place effective preventative measures.
No More Ransom provides only a short-term sticking plaster to help victims recover from a threat that already exists. However, when ransomware is no longer an effective tool for criminals, some other threat will emerge.
Gary Jowett from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton says: “The success of No More Ransom is good news but preventative measures are the best way to protect your business from all forms of cyber crime. The first thing is to ensure your company has a robust back-up system to store all data, including email correspondence, so that you can quickly recover from an attack if the unthinkable happens.
“You also need strong anti-virus software which is regularly updated and regular update patches for your software applications to protect against the latest threats. Educating staff and managers to adhere to high standards is also critically important.”
Education can help iron-out bad practice among employees who often pose a greater threat to your business than external attacks.
Another wise move is to gain certification for your business under the UK government’s Cyber Essentials programme . It gives you tangible standards to adhere to and will strengthen your company’s ability to bid for new business with major organisations.
Security tools and applications
There’s also a wide range of tools and applications available to improve IT security that an experienced IT consultant can help you evaluate before choosing what’s best for your business. These include Windows Advanced Threat Protection which is available to businesses that sign up for Windows 10 Enterprise E5.
Gary adds: “Cyber criminals will continue to find new ways to attack businesses and individuals. So, it’s essential to keep up-to-date with all the security tools and applications available and ensure there are policies and protocols in place that are regularly audited. Everyone – employees and directors alike – need to adhere to the same high standards.”