by Jeff Shrum, IT Manager
A recent string of high-profile ransomware attacks has gained the public’s attention, and the government’s. In response to the Colonial Pipeline, JBS Meat Packing, and Kaseya cyber breaches, the White House is urging corporate executives and business leaders to take immediate steps to prepare for ransomware attacks, warning in a new memo that cybercriminals are shifting from stealing data to disrupting core operations.
Outlined below are steps that you can take in your own business and personal life to safeguard yourself against cyber-attacks:
- Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline: Ensure that backups are regularly tested and that they are not connected to the business network, as many ransomware variants try to find and encrypt or delete accessible backups. Maintaining current backups offline is critical because if your network data is encrypted with ransomware, your organization can restore systems.
- Update and patch systems promptly: This includes maintaining the security of operating systems, applications, and firmware, in a timely manner. Consider using a centralized patch management system; use a risk-based assessment strategy to drive your patch management program.
- Test your incident response plan: There’s nothing that shows the gaps in plans more than testing them. Run through some core questions and use those to build an incident response plan: Are you able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Would you turn off your manufacturing operations if business systems such as billing were offline?
- Check your security team’s work: Use a third party pen tester* to test the security of your systems and your ability to defend against a sophisticated attack. Many ransomware criminals are aggressive and sophisticated and will find the equivalent of unlocked doors.
- Segment your networks: It’s critically important that your corporate business functions and manufacturing/production operations are separated and that you carefully filter and limit internet access to operational networks, identify links between these networks and develop workarounds or manual controls to ensure ICS networks can be isolated and continue operating if your corporate network is compromised. Regularly test contingency plans such as manual controls so that safety-critical functions can be maintained during a cyber incident.
If you have questions regarding your company’s cybersecurity, the Duro-Last IT team is available at 800-248-0280 to answer questions and offer resources.
* Third-party pen testers act as though they have nefarious goals in order to realistically simulate how a true cyber-attack would take place. They are like undercover good guys, posing as the bad guys and using their own trick book to protect your network from their criminal attempts.
* * This article is based on an article by Amanda Macias from CNBC, written on 6.3.21 Click Here to read the full article.