Unfortunately, there is no way to create a secure software program. Vile ransomware can sneak in through many different cracks in security infrastructure, infiltrating computers, and ultimately, entire companies through an email link that was accidentally clicked.
Ransomware is not a new technology. It has evolved just like all aspects of technology. It used to be an expensive option, but hackers are now able to hack into every sector, including energy, transportation, and healthcare, using ransomware attacks.
This is something you probably already know if you work in the software industry. What is a fast-growing company in the software industry supposed to do to protect against ransomware, given its high release speed and demanding market?
You should work with, a qualified QA partner. Partner can help you to thoroughly examine your product for areas of vulnerability.
Ransomware hackers target vulnerable areas in your app. A QA partner protects your product and users.
Before we go into details about how to prevent ransomware-based attacks let’s first learn about how they are created and waged.
How does ransomware work?
Hackers depend on access via a single browser window because this is where most enterprise-level application systems are located. This is the most direct way to your product. Unfortunately, it is also one of the easiest.
A common email containing a link to a malicious domain is sent to employees. The domain links can be clicked to activate an “exploitkit” on the user’s computer. These kits scan the browser for potential vulnerabilities, such as the active use of an old browser version, and alert the hacker that the system is ready for attack.
Hackers can gain administrative access to a user’s browser by co-opting their administrator privileges. They can then do all sorts of evil things, including freeze operations, withdrawing money, making purchases, stealing and selling user data, and more.
Five cybersecurity best practices to fight ransomware
Ransomware is a serious threat that can cause severe damage but it can be avoided. These are five industry-leading practices for fighting ransomware.
- Use the 3-2-1 backup rule: Keeping backups of configurations, system images, and data is a good way to help companies re-open their operations quickly in case of ransomware. You can even go further and use the 3-2-1 backup method to disperse data. This is a simple way to store three or more copies of the same document in different places. One copy can be stored off-site and two are used as storage media. This reduces the chance of hackers gaining access to all information. The 3-2-1 approach also helps to protect all copies in the event that one storage medium is compromised in a data centre attack. Many organizations go one step further and keep at least one copy on permanent (cannot delete) storage.
- Use a zero trust model: This mindset focuses on not trusting anyone or any device, no matter if they are within the corporate network. Multi-factor authentications and role-based access controls are useful tools to detect and prevent malicious activity. It’s also easy to close down ransomware entry points if there is a limit on access to backups. Organizations are moving to just-in-time security practices (JIT), where access is granted based on need or for a predetermined time.
- Software and System Upgrades: An attacker can easily exploit security flaws that are unmitigated by outdated software. This can be minimized by ensuring that operating systems, software, and infrastructure are regularly updated and patched. You cannot fight ransomware using outdated technology.
- Network Segmentation Hackers find a flat, continuous network the easiest to attack. They can spread easily across the entire infrastructure. Micro-segmentation and network segmentation can be used to reduce these risks. Networks are often divided into zones of smaller networks that allow for limited access and management, particularly for critical data. All infrastructure functions are kept off the internet. A zero-trust model would also allow for the segmentation of all third-party vendors.
- Remote Endpoint Visibility: It is still a challenge for most organizations to gain visibility into remote endpoints. Hackers have found it easy to bypass security and remain dormant for long enough to discover a vulnerability and attack the target. It is important to have tools that give visibility to the entire network to detect anomalies and notify admins of any malicious activity. This will allow hackers to avoid vulnerabilities and threats.
What can a partner do to help you be a more effective partner?
The product company is responsible for building products that are secure. However, not all product companies have the deep experience in security testing or domain expertise that a qualified QA partner does.
Security testing is essential. These are just a few of the areas that can easily be secured by a partner who is competent:
- XSS injection A hacker inserts client-side scripts onto pages of a web app that are viewed by others. QA partners are able to learn the code of your product more than developers, and can create a list of areas that could be targeted.
- SQL injection Malicious SQL statements are inserted in an entry field to execute.
- URL injection This attack makes it appear that your application is giving credit or referencing a harmful site. Your partner can meticulously search your product for any URL injection attacks.
Many partners are skilled at delivering high quality products. However, it is not easy to protect your product and your customers, or your company’s reputation on the market.
Partnering with the right partner will ensure that all the boxes are checked and that your team stays current on the most recent security testing best practice. This partner ensures that you test thoroughly, cover every possible vulnerability, and secures all paths within the application.