Ransomware is one of the prominent malware threats that many online businesses face with outdated updates and fewer security tools. Over the past few years, the number of ransomware attacks has increased by 148%. As per the Business Insiders report, the largest ransomware payout was made by an insurance company in 2021.
These attackers give threat calls to victim companies of leaking exfiltrated data if their demands are not fulfilled. They cause not only financial damage to the company, but also ruin their reputation and brand value.
Sophisticated cyber attackers know different ways through which they can enter your system. Once they get into your space, they infect, access, and encrypt all computer files, and systems. Later, they demand a large ransom after activation.
Ransomware attacks can lead to financial loss, data loss, and reputational damage. Here, we will discuss ransomware in detail and tips to help protect backup systems from such attacks. Further, we have listed a few tools that can work in your favor and protect your business from ransomware attacks.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of malware that blocks authorized users from accessing their computer files, systems, or networks and demands them to pay a ransom to unlock and decrypt the data. The attackers take advantage of software vulnerabilities to infect, access, lock, and encrypt the computer or device entirely, making it impossible for organizations to access any of its files or applications.
Ransomware is one of the most prominent types of malware that keeps all of your companies’ files and data hostage unless you fulfill their demand.
It can infect any computer or mobile device connected to the Internet and majorly targets the one running outdated software. Hence, make sure your organization timely updates its systems and apps to protect from such attacks in the future.
The reason why this type of ransomware is so dangerous is that once the cybercriminals get hold of your files, there is no way for security software or a system reset to get you back your files. If a ransom demand is not met in a cybercriminals timeframe, then your system or encrypted data remains unavailable. Also, your data can be deleted by ransomware, with its decryption keys being erased.
Cybercriminals encrypt files on your system via email attachments, add extensions to your attacked data, and hold it hostage until you pay the requested ransom. Another technique that most attackers practice is to send notifications from malicious websites, updating users that their device is infected and must click on the download link to activate the tool and remove the virus.
The cybercriminal behind the attack will contact you with their demands, promising to unlock your computer or decrypt your files after you have paid a ransom (usually in bitcoin).
Let us discuss a few tips that will help protect your backups from ransomware attacks.
Tips to Protect Backups from Ransomware
Do you know there are sophisticated ransomware packages that can upload onto shared drives via syncing and travel across a network? These network-connected infections can also pass onto your backup systems and put the business into serious trouble. To avoid such mishaps and protect your backups from ransomware, we have listed a few tips that can work wonders for your business.
1. Secure Your Windows System
An increase in remote work since the pandemic has increased ransomware attacks by 148%, as per a report. It has also been found that most of these attacks are against Windows hosts and spread faster across other hosts after being infected by a single host.
In these cases, most of the attacker encrypts the files and devices once the infected ransomware spreads to enough hosts in your computing environment and shuts multiple systems altogether. Hence, the best tip for organizations would be to use other platforms for their backup server instead of Windows.
Unknown of the attacker’s possibility, many companies primarily use Windows to run their backup. As an alternative, you can also switch to Linux media servers. If you want to run the main backup software on Windows, try running a copy of your backup on Linux as well.
However, if your backup is accessible only via Linux media servers, chances are high that the ransomware attackers attempting to infect Windows-based servers will not be able to access your backup files.
Also, try to store the main backup behind a Linux-based media server to avoid any mishap. Also, work on the security of your Windows-based backup servers and turn off maximum services ransomware used to attack servers. Focus more on tightening your security and less on convenience.
2. Remove file-system access to backups
Avoid placing your backup data in a standard file-system directory, for example, E:\backups or C:\ProgramFiles. The attackers often target these directories with names to infect and encrypt files. You must always look for a different folder or place to store backups on disk.
Also, in a way that it can’t be seen as files and are less prone to attacks.
If you are using a backup server, try looking for new ways to write a backup product to your target deduplication array without server message block (SMB) or network file system (NFS). For in case, if the attacker can infect the server, it will encrypt all the stored backups as they are easily accessible via a directory.
3. Store Backups Out of Data Center
No matter which location you choose to store your backup data, make sure that its copy is stored in a different location. For example, in case ransomware tries to attack your data center, your copies stored in the cloud must remain safe. Using firewall rules or changing operating systems and storage protocols, you can make this happen.
Ransomware attackers indeed know different techniques to infect victims’ files but, they still don’t know how to attack backups stored in object-based storage. Further, there are a few backup services that can write backups to the storage but are not accessible except via their user interface. As a result, neither the administrator nor the ransomware can directly see the stored backups.
Use cloud platforms to store the backup copy and protect them by firewall rules or write it in different storage for security purposes.
4. Follow the 3-2-1-1-0 Golden Rule for Backups
The 3-2-1-1-0 Golden Rule is highly effective and provides the best protection from ransomware. As per this rule, you must meet five important conditions, including:
- Enterprises must create three Data copies, including the production copy.
- At least two different storage media, such as tape and cloud storage must be used.
- Out of the three, one copy must be stored off-site, in case the supporting machines are physically damaged.
- Out of the three, another copy must be stored offline or in the cloud (Immutable, i.e., it cannot be modified).
- The backups must have zero errors.
5. Automate response
Another way to prevent contamination spread is to detect and respond immediately to the ransomware attack. In most cases, ransomware takes a minimum of 90+ days before activating and making a ransom demand. If your organization has a strong security posture, there are high chances that you can timely detect and prevent ransomware.
Various built-in monitoring systems can detect and alert your team to possible ransomware attacks. Also, integrate SIEM and SOAR platforms that help automate the response process.
Tools to Protect Backups from Ransomware
Have a look at some of the trusted tools that will block and protect your backups from ransomware before they get inside your backup storage.
1. CrowdStrike Falcon Prevent
CrowdStrike Falcon Prevent is one of the best security tools available in the market to protect devices from ransomware infection. It is a fully operational tool that offers quick and easy deployment. Further, it protects your devices and backup files without impacting resources or productivity.
Falcon Prevent is an endpoint detection and response system that monitors each endpoint and detects and blocks ransomware as it hits the device. Its Automated IOA remediation feature further helps clean and eliminate artifacts left behind from blocked malicious activity.
It protects Windows, Windows Server, macOS, and Linux platforms and supports behavior-based indicators of attacks that go out of the way to prevent sophisticated malware-free attacks.
2. ManageEngine DataSecurity Plus
ManageEngine DataSecurity Plus is another popular tool businesses can invest in to protect files from tampering. Using this tool, organizations can detect potential ransomware intrusions and spot any unauthorized change implemented by the attackers. It is compatible with the Windows platform, one of the most targeted platforms by ransomware attackers.
It also supports automated responses and alerting features that inform users about ransomware actions on time and prevent them from spreading across the network. Further, ManageEngine DataSecurity Plus has a built-in threat library that helps detect attacks by unknown ransomware variants, including Locky, Petya, etc.
Another feature that makes it a top choice is its ransomware detection and response capabilities that help businesses discover threats before they launch and cause damage. It also allows businesses to track and alert on noticing critical changes made to sensitive files.
3. Acronis Cyber Backup
Acronis Cyber Backup helps businesses manage, protect, and create a backup of multiple endpoints. It is a package of modules that safeguards your information and devices from threats and ransomware. It uses advanced MI-based protection against malware to protect every data and evolving threat.
Further, it also supports various anti-ransomware technologies that help protect backup systems and eliminates the gap in the defenses. Organizations can easily scan all infections using its advanced features before getting added to the backup.
The backup restoration process also involves the use of malware scans. It is one of the best cyber protection solutions that offer a high level of efficiency and unmatched protection. Users can easily manage the tool and protect backup systems from ransomware via a single console.
4. NinjaOne Backup
NinjaOne Backup tool is best suitable for managed service providers (MSPs). It is a fast and flexible security tool that protects all your critical business information and data stored on end-user devices from known and unknown threats. It has a cloud storage space protected by 256-bit AES encryption that ensures all the data is safe from malicious actors.
Further, organizations can deploy data protection to the workflows and all Windows and Mac endpoints using this powerful tool. In case of a successful ransomware attack, the Ninja Data Protection tool helps faster restore all files stored locally or in the cloud to start operations.
Ransomware can get into your systems via mail attachments available in PDF format, images, ZIP files, or RAR files. They can also make a way through your device by manipulating an employee or tricking him with fake information. Once the attackers make their way to your systems, they access and encrypt all your files.
In some cases, they travel across a network and upload into shared drives to cause severe damage. Ransomware attackers are the main cause of concern for many online businesses as they can lead to financial loss, data loss, and reputational damage.
Also, they infect your backup systems if not protected beforehand. Sophisticated ransomware attackers know different techniques to enter your space and infect files and systems. Hence, companies need to invest in the best cyber protection solutions that offer security to data, devices, and backup.
Make sure to secure your windows system and store backup files in Linux media servers for better protection. Further, avoid storing backup data in a standard file-system directory. Another way to protect your backup from ransomware is to store backups out of the data center in the cloud.
Lastly, follow the 3-2-1-1-0 Golden Rule and maintain a strong security posture to detect and prevent ransomware in real-time.
We have also listed a few security tools that will protect your backups from ransomware and block threats before they launch or cause any damage. Compare each above-listed security tool before selecting one for your backup and data protection.