How To Avoid Malware and Ransomware Attacks On Your Website, Apps, and Software Infrastructure

July 6, 2021 | Raj Srivastav

Ransomware attacks are on the rise and have been getting more dangerous in recent years. An attack can cost businesses thousands or even millions of dollars. Valuable and irreplaceable files can be lost and hundreds of hours may be required to get the systems working again. Ransomware like any other malware can affect your websites, apps, or any other software infrastructure.

How does ransomware work?

It usually begins with malicious software being downloaded onto an endpoint device like a computer or a smartphone. One common method of distributing malware is through phishing attacks. An attacker attaches an infected document or URL to an email disguising it as legitimate to trick users into opening it. Once opened it will install malware on their device. Another method of spreading ransomware involves disguising ransomware as legitimate software online and then infecting devices after users install this software.

Why is ransomware so successful?

Ransomware can be incredibly damaging to businesses because it can cause a loss of files and data. That can mean hundreds of hours of work or data that is critical to running an organization. What ends up happening is that many businesses feel they have no choice but to pay the ransom, although it is highly recommended not to pay. Reports suggest ransomware generates more than $25 million in revenue for hackers every year.

How can you stop ransomware?

It is important to ensure that you have strong protections in place to secure your business from ransomware attacks. Be very proactive in your security approach to prevent malware from infecting your systems.

Here are some important tips which you can follow to protect your websites, apps, and software infrastructure from cyberattacks.

Websites

1. Software should be kept updated

To keep your website secure it is imperative that all software is up to date. This applies to both the server operating system and any other software you may be running on your website. While using third-party software, apply all the security patches quickly.

If the websites have been developed by companies like SDI then you don’t need to worry as they will ensure that security updates are applied regularly.

2. Prevent SQL injection

An SQL injection is when a hacker uses a URL parameter to gain access to your site by manipulating your database. This is easy to prevent, always use parameterized queries. Most web languages have this feature and it is easy to implement.

3. Protect against XSS attacks

An XSS or cross-site scripting attack injects malicious JavaScript into your pages which then can change page content or steal information. The best way to protect against an attack is for your web application to use an advanced SDL, security development lifecycle. Another way is to make your users re-enter passwords before accessing certain pages on your website.

4. Secure your email transmission ports

An email has always been a prime target for hackers. Always communicate through IMAP Port 993, SMTP Port 465, or other similar ports which are secured via encryption.

5. Watch your error messages

Don’t provide full exception details to your users or else they may leak secrets on your server and make attacks like SQL injection far easier. Show users only the information they need, nothing more.

6. Don’t allow direct file uploads

Allowing users to upload files to your website is a security risk. They may contain a script that will open your website to hackers. The best solution is to stop direct access to any uploaded files to your website.

Mobile apps

1. Avoid third party stores

Download apps only from the recognized app stores such as Google Play Store or Apple App store as these have mechanisms built in to screen new apps for any malicious code. Downloading from third-party app stores is risky with some of them being a haven for malicious apps.

2. Visit secure websites

Visit only websites that contain HTTPS in their URL. These carry the most up-to-date malware defense and the ones carrying only the HTTP are not secure anymore. Also, run only default OS browsers rather than third-party ones which may not issue security certificates to individual websites.

3. Use popular security apps

Download antivirus apps from established companies. These apps screen your phone for malware regularly and disable them before they can cause any damage.

4. Set a strong password

Setting a strong password is the best way to prevent others from accessing your information without your permission. Nowadays you can protect your smartphone by activating a fingerprint sensor or iris scanner which is much harder to crack.

5. Update your operating system

Update your operating system as soon as a new version becomes available. Never delay the download of security patches for OS, apps, and plugins. This not only protects your smartphone but also keeps it running in the best state.

Software infrastructure

1. Software audit

Running periodic security audits will help identify gaps on your network and help fix them. Experts in IT services like SDI can not only perform a security audit but also create a blueprint for keeping your software secure.

2. Security policies

You should come up with a set of policies, guidelines, and standard operating procedures(SOPs) which your employees need to follow. It is essential that all the employees are aware of cybersecurity measures to protect your software architecture.

3. Strong password

Include a strong password policy in your guidelines. You can choose secure passwords with the help of password management solutions.

4. Encryption

Data encryption is a simple and efficient method to protect your company’s information and other sensitive data. Data should be encrypted both at rest and in transit.

5. Data backup solution

A robust data backup solution can help in your data recovery efforts if your software infrastructure becomes compromised. Backup copies can allow a business to recover fast from a malicious attack.

6. Firewall

A firewall acts as a barrier between your internal network and incoming traffic from external sources. It effectively blocks malware and other viruses. Choose next-generation firewalls(NGFW) as they are better equipped to block malware from entering a network.

7. Implement a hosted DNS solution

End users can unknowingly expose your IT infrastructure to malware by visiting malicious websites. If this happens the company’s entire network may get affected. A hosted domain name system(DNS) can block these types of websites from loading so that none of your computers get affected.

8. Audit your servers

Servers should be periodically audited to determine the current level of your server’s security, identify vulnerabilities, and create an action plan to fix those vulnerabilities.

9. Install anti-malware application

An anti-malware application can scan all the systems on your network and prevent malware from infiltrating. This gives an important layer of protection against malware.

Failure to plan your software security strategy can lead to huge losses. A company like SDI can take care of all your software security needs. We can come up with very effective security solutions for your business. Having more than a decade of experience we are experts at developing very secure mobile apps and high-quality websites.

To know more on how to protect your organization from ransomware, call us at 408.621.8481 or email us at team@sdi.la

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