Since the start of the pandemic, scammers, phishers and fraudsters of all kinds have been trying to profit from the upheaval COVID-19 has caused. While the increased frequency of these types of scams is concerning, if businesses and their employees remain vigilant and follow best practice advice, the chances of systems becoming infected are significantly reduced.
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidance explains how organisations can defend themselves against malware and ransomware attacks. In this article, we have outlined the NCSC’s four key tips to help your business thwart cyber-criminals and protect your IT infrastructure.
Tip 1: Make regular backups
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to completely eliminate the threat of malware infections, and at some point, it’s likely your system will become infected. So, if you fall foul of a ransomware scam, it’s vital that you’ve backed up your most critical data.
Every organisation will have different priorities, but you should identify the most important files for your business and ensure you produce back-up copies periodically, even daily for files that are regularly being edited.
Tip 2: Prevent malware from being delivered to devices
Make it harder for viruses and malicious content to reach your network by filtering to permit file types you would expect to receive, blocking known malicious websites and inspecting content actively.
This can be done at the network services level, rather than directly on users’ devices. Network-level security protects your organisation, employees and customers when browsing the internet, while helping you to better control what sites can be visited and when.
Tip 3: Prevent malware from running on devices
With malware infection inevitable at some point, the NCSC recommends adopting a ‘defence-in-depth’ strategy, using layers of defence with mitigations at each stage to help you identify malware and prevent it from causing significant damage to your organisation.
For instance, utilising device-level security features that can be centrally managed and permit only approved applications to run on devices connected to your network. Other best practice recommendations include using antivirus and anti-malware products, and ensuring devices have the latest security updates.
Tip 4: Limit the impact of infection and enable rapid response
There are several steps you can take to ensure your business recovers from an infection quickly. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Preventing lateral movement so attackers can’t gain further access into your network
- Leveraging two-factor authentication
- Removing obsolete platforms from your network
- Reviewing and removing unnecessary user permissions on a regular basis
- Developing an effective incident response plan
The NCSC’s guidance also includes advice on what to do if your organisation has already been infected, as well as providing more detailed information on the steps outlined above. We would recommend sharing the guidance with stakeholders in your business as well as the wider NCSC website, which is full of best practice advice on combatting cyber-criminals and keeping businesses and individuals safe.
If you haven’t already, check out our website to find out how we can help your business come back better. Go to www.gps.dcsdigital.co.uk for more information