malwareransomware blog

Staying Ahead of the Game: 7 Strategies to Combat Malware and Ransomware

When it comes to protecting your business from cyber threats, malware and ransomware remain two of the more pervasive and damaging. These malicious attack types can infiltrate systems, compromise data, and wreak havoc on businesses of all sizes. As we become more reliant on technology, the tactics of cyber criminals evolve, making it crucial for you to stay vigilant and proactive in your defence strategy.

What is Malware and Ransomware?

Malware, short for malicious software, encompasses a wide range of harmful programs designed to infiltrate and damage computer systems. From viruses and worms to trojans and spyware, malware can exploit vulnerabilities in networks, devices, and software, leading to data breaches, financial loss, and reputational damage.

Ransomware, on the other hand, is a specific type of malware that encrypts files or locks users out of their systems, demanding payment (often in cryptocurrency) for their release. This threat has become increasingly prevalent, targeting businesses across industries and causing significant disruptions to operations. 

The Importance of Proactive Defence

In the face of such threats, reactive measures are no longer sufficient. Organisations must adopt a proactive approach to cyber security, implementing robust defence strategies that prioritise prevention, detection, and response. Here are some key strategies to consider:

  1. User Education and Awareness: Employees are often the first line of defence against malware and ransomware. Providing comprehensive training on cyber security best practices, including how to recognise phishing attempts and suspicious links, can empower individuals to identify and mitigate potential threats.
  2. Up-to-Date Security Software: Keeping security software, antivirus programs, and firewalls updated is essential for protecting against known vulnerabilities and emerging threats. Regularly patching systems and applications can close security gaps and strengthen overall resilience.
  3. Access Control: To reduce the risks associated with potential misuse or theft of accounts, it’s essential to ensure that staff accounts are granted only the necessary access to software, settings, online services, and device connectivity features required for their respective roles. Additional permissions should be selectively granted only to individuals who have a legitimate need for them.
  4. Strong Password Management: Enforcing strong password policies, including the use of complex passwords and multi-factor authentication, can help prevent unauthorised access to accounts and systems. Regularly updating passwords and avoiding password reuse can further enhance security posture.
  5. Multi-factor authentication (MFA): By requiring users to provide multiple forms of verification, like passwords and biometrics, before accessing an account or system you can make it harder for attackers to breach accounts with stolen passwords alone.
  6. Data Backup and Recovery: Implementing a robust backup and recovery strategy is essential for mitigating the impact of ransomware attacks. Regularly backing up critical data to offline or cloud-based storage ensures that you can restore operations quickly in the event of a breach.
  7. Incident Response Plan: Having a well-defined incident response plan in place is crucial for effectively managing cyber security incidents. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities, as well as predefined steps for identifying, containing, and remedying threats, can minimise downtime and mitigate damages.

The Alarming Statistics

The UK Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2024 highlights the prevalent nature of cyber threats, with businesses and charities alike vulnerable to breaches and attacks. Alarmingly, half of businesses and around a third of charities report falling victim to cyber incidents within the past year. Particularly striking is the heightened susceptibility among medium and large businesses, with a staggering 70% and 74% respectively experiencing breaches, alongside high-income charities with annual incomes exceeding £500,000, where breaches are reported at 66%.

Phishing emerges as the predominant form of entry, constituting a significant proportion of breaches across both businesses and charities, with an overwhelming 84% and 83% respectively. Other notable threats include impersonation of organisations or employees via emails or online channels, affecting 35% of businesses and 37% of charities, followed by viruses or malware, impacting 17% of businesses and 14% of charities. 

How can we help protect your business?

At Consider IT, we understand the critical importance of safeguarding your business against cyber attacks. That’s why we offer comprehensive cyber security solutions designed to fortify your defence posture and reduce the ever-present risks of malware and ransomware. As an accredited IASME certifying body, we specialise in helping businesses achieve and maintain Cyber Essentials certification, providing assurance that your systems meet rigorous industry standards.

By partnering with Consider IT, you can take proactive steps to protect your business from cyber threats. Our team of experts will guide you through the certification process, ensuring compliance with baseline standards and implementing robust security measures tailored to your organisation’s unique needs. Even if certification isn’t a requirement for your business, rest assured that as our client, we’ll work to ensure you meet crucial cyber security standards, bolstering your resilience against potential attacks.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Take proactive steps to secure your business today. Defend against the growing threat of malware and ransomware, safeguarding your data, reputation, and bottom line. Get in touch with us today to learn more.