4 ways to protect your practice from ransomware attacks

June 29, 2020

As ransomware attacks multiply, cybersecurity has become a top concern among healthcare professionals. What are the best ways to stop these attacks before they occur?

As ransomware attacks multiply, cybersecurity has become a top concern among healthcare professionals.

What are the best ways to stop these attacks before they occur?

Watch for Warning Signs

The first step in stopping hackers is awareness. Ransomware attacks typically begin when an unsuspecting user clicks on a seemingly legitimate file or link that is corrupted with malicious software. 

Train computer users in your organization to be aware of suspicious-looking emails. If they contact IT before clicking on an unfamiliar file or link, that could stop a ransomware attack before it starts.

Install Security

Once a ransomware attack begins, it will quickly spread throughout the computer system, encrypting patient records, insurance documents and anything else it can reach. After locking up the files of the infected computers, the software will demand payment for the decryption key, effectively holding the data for ransom.

To stop the source of the infection before it arrives, set up anti-spam to block suspicious messages. Also, check to make sure that your network firewall is in place. Finally, install antivirus software both on your server and at all workstations.

Install Updates and Security Patches Immediately

It can be difficult to install software updates and security patches regularly across an entire computer network without disrupting day-to-day operations. But delaying these updates opens a window of opportunity that hackers can exploit.

Invest in a Disaster Recovery Plan

The best insurance against ransomware is a reliable, continuous backup. Without a working backup, you will be left with no other options but to pay the ransom in the event of an attack.

Every backup should be tested on a regular basis to verify that it’s ready if needed. Your IT department also needs to have a restoration protocol in place. It’s a good idea to run regular drills to ensure that the disaster recovery plan can be executed immediately if a ransomware attack should occur. 

Tom Andrulis is CEO of Intelligent Technical Solutions.