Ransomware is the most common type of cybersecurity attack in which hackers use software to gain access to and encrypt a company’s system, keeping its data for ransom. Ransomware infiltrates company networks and servers, as well as individual laptops or desktops, causing vital information and data to be lost.
Many cannabis companies are thinking these days, “Could I be a target as well?”. The answer is yes, because ransomware groups target businesses of all sizes and sectors, including cannabis.
The following tips can help businesses stop ransomware attacks:
Employees can be the first line of defense against cyber risks and can actively help stop malware from infiltrating the company’s systems. A strong security policy combined with employee education on warning signals, safe practices, and responses can significantly help to avert these attacks.
If a link appears in an email or pop-up message, it’s advised not to click on it unless you know it’s valid or required. Practice caution when opening attachments or downloading files from emails that are being received, regardless of who sent them. These files may include viruses or other malware meant to compromise the security of your computer. Hover your cursor over the link if it appears to be real (without clicking it). The real URL will be displayed in a tiny window. If the URL changes from the one given as the link text, you may be directed to a potentially harmful site.
Backing up your data will not prevent a ransomware outbreak, but it will allow you to restore your files without paying the ransom. Simply ensure that your backups are properly isolated from the rest of your system so that:
Network-level firewalls, the IT counterpart of a dispensary security officer checking IDs at the entrance, can defend you against ransomware by restricting traffic from unfamiliar, suspicious, or banned sites; blocking users from visiting malware-infested websites such as piracy, adult, and gambling sites; screening out malware and spam; and notifying you to potential intrusions.
Keep software, browsers, devices, and operating systems up to date. Technology partners will offer updates to keep your system safe as threats grow. “Regularly updating programs and operating systems helps to protect you from malware. When performing updates, make sure you benefit from the latest security patches. This makes it harder for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities in your programs,” (experts from Kaspersky)
Limit users’ access to install and execute software programs on network devices to reduce malware exposure on your network.
If you are a victim of ransomware, contact your local FBI field office as soon as possible to report the incident and request assistance. To locate the office nearest you, visit fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices.
For additional resources, visit STOP RANSOMWARE at https://www.cisa.gov/stopransomware