How Not To Become A Ransomware Victim

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Security software firm Tripwire offers cybersecurity advice to keep individuals and online retailers safe from ransomware

Ransomware has proven to be very lucrative for cybercriminals, so it makes sense that these kinds of attacks are being aimed at online retailers.

“If online businesses don’t have good security and backup plans and are victimised by ransomware, the impact can be devastating,” said to Craig Young, security researcher for Tripwire.

“In some cases, ransomware victims do not gain access to their files even after paying the ransom. It’s much more effective to protect your business against infections than to take action after you’ve been attacked.”

computer virusYoung has identified the following five crucial steps online retailers can take to protect themselves from ransomware:

1. Stay up-to-date

Keep plug-in software, especially shopping carts and blogging components, up-to-date at all times. As soon as a patch for a software vulnerability becomes available, cybercriminals have the information they need to start exploiting any systems that have not yet been updated.

2. Avoid single point failure

Make sure Web servers are not the sole repository for the website’s source code, data and security certificates. Keeping this content in a source code revision tracking system ensures that a Web server does not become a single point of failure. In the event of a ransomware attack, the owner does not risk losing the intellectual property contained in the website source code.

3. Replicate

Regularly replicate data files and databases so that the system can be easily restored on a fresh server in the event of a cyberattack.

4. Go for a minimalist approach

Minimise the software applications and services on production Web servers; it should not be used as a workstation. Ideally, nothing should be stored in home directories except for basic configuration files. This limits the potential risk for data loss.

5. Back it up

Various online services like Amazon Glacier and Iron Mountain provide the ability to back up important data and can be used to recover it in the event of catastrophic loss. Alternately, the use of virtualised servers updated with snapshots of key data that occurs at regular intervals minimises the risk posed by cybercriminals.

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