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How to Avoid Becoming a Ransomware Victim

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Federal government says in the first six months of the year, more than half of Canadian ransomware victims were providers of critical infrastructure, including energy, healthcare and manufacturing .

Since March 2020, nearly a quarter of Canadian small businesses have been the target of a hostile cyber incident, according to federal officials.

The scale of the problem has prompted several cabinet ministers to advocate this week with Canadian organizations to take protective action.

Many attacks take advantage of a network vulnerability, according to Dwayne Robinson, global director of incident response for CyberClan, which provides security services to small and medium-sized businesses.

I would say few of these attacks are truly targeted, Robinson told a recent webinar on ransomware in Canada.

It’s a little frustrating, because we see the same thing over and over and over and over again, he added, noting that companies can implement some basic measures to significantly improve their security.

The base

The Canadian Center for Cyber ​​Security, a federal agency, has developed detailed guidelines for preventing ransomware attacks in organizations. Here is an overview of some key recommendations.

Training : Security awareness training can be offered to staff to ensure that no one clicks on phishing emails or opens infected attachments.

Planning : The organization can develop a plan that details how it will detect a ransomware attack and how it will respond to it. She can then test the response plan through exercises.

Cyber ​​insurance : The average cost of recovery from a ransomware attack worldwide more than doubled last year to $ 2.3 million. Insurance policies can be helpful.

Evaluation : Specialists can assess an organization’s computer systems and recommend measures to take to prevent a ransomware attack.

Is your organization ready?

The federal government offers programs for operators of critical infrastructure in the areas of energy and utilities, finance, food, government, health, information and communication technologies , manufacturing, security, transportation and water.

Public Safety Canada, in collaboration with the Center for Cyber ​​Security, developed the Canadian Cyber ​​Security Tool (New window) to provide critical infrastructure organizations with an easy way to assess their cybersecurity in under an hour.

It was first offered to healthcare organizations in the summer of 2020 and is now accessible to all critical infrastructure sectors. Public Safety Canada says it has completed 132 assessments to date.

The ministry is also offering Canada’s Cyber ​​Resilience Review, a survey-based, field-based assessment that can take up to a day and a half to complete. Public Safety Canada says 110 assessments have been completed in various critical infrastructure sectors since 2013.

Other stuff

Security tools : Install anti-malware and anti-virus software on devices to detect suspicious activity and secure the network with a firewall. Use strong passwords, or passphrases, to fend off so-called attacks by Brute force which scroll through countless password possibilities.

Updates : Regularly use updates and patches to correct bugs and vulnerabilities in software, firmware and operating systems.

Network segmentation : Dividing a network into several smaller segments can prevent ransomware from spreading throughout the network.

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Random tests : Asking specialized testers to try to breach the security of a system with techniques that a hacker could use. The Bank of Canada, like many financial institutions, has a long history of protecting internal systems, including network penetration testing.

Data backups : It is essential for an organization to have copies of data and systems in the event of an incident. Make sure that backups are stored offline, as cyber hackers can infect backups if they are connected to networks.

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