People often ask me what is the best way to prevent ransomware. I give the same answer every time. PREPARE!

Refer to the best practices and references below to help you manage the risk posed by ransomware and support your practice’s coordinated and efficient response to a ransomware incident. Apply these practices to the greatest extent possible based on availability of organizational resources.

Best Way To Prevent Ransomware

It is critical to maintain offline, encrypted backups of data and to regularly test your backups. Backup procedures should be conducted on a regular basis. It is important that backups be maintained offline as many ransomware variants attempt to find and delete any accessible backups. Maintaining offline, current backups is most critical because there is no need to pay a ransom for data that is readily accessible to your organization.

□ Maintain regularly updated “gold images” of critical systems in the event they need to be rebuilt. This entails maintaining image “templates” that include a preconfigured operating system (OS) and associated software applications that can be quickly deployed to rebuild a system, such as a virtual machine or server.

□ Retain backup hardware to rebuild systems in the event rebuilding the primary system is not preferred. – Hardware that is newer or older than the primary system can present installation or compatibility hurdles when rebuilding from images.

□ In addition to system images, applicable source code or executables should be available (stored with backups, escrowed, license agreement to obtain, etc.). It is more efficient to rebuild from system images, but some images will not install on different hardware or platforms correctly; having separate access to needed software will help in these cases.

Create, maintain, and exercise a basic cyber incident response plan and associated communications plan that includes response and notification procedures for a ransomware incident.

Being prepared is the best way to prevent ransomware. Hackers are getting bigger, better and smarter. We need to fight back!