A continuing trend in cybercrime, ransomware attacks impact enterprises of all sizes in every corner of the world. Government offices and educational institutions like colleges and universities are also potential victims. To prevent these damaging and disruptive attacks, it is vital that operations understand the types of tactics that attackers employ to deliver ransomware.

In this blog, we’ll explore how the human element can allow gangs to deploy ransomware on company networks. Read on to find out more and ensure your company understands where the risks lie and where threats can come from.

Phishing messages

Hackers employ carefully crafted emails to fool a target into opening a harmful attachment or mouse clicking on a link connected to a malicious data file. Files can arrive in wide variety of well-known formats to avoid suspicion. These include PDFs, ZIP files, Word documents, or sometimes JavaScript.

When a Word document is selected, the hacker often tricks the victim into “Enabling Macros” when opening the file. This allows the attacker to run a script that can download and execute an executable file from an external server. The malicious file will include the complex functions required to encrypt all data on the user’s device.

After the data has been encrypted and the ransomware is loaded onto one machine, advanced variants can then spread laterally to other machines on the network. From one person opening a malicious attachment, an entire organisation can soon become infected.

Poor cybersecurity training

If employees are unaware of the threats waiting in their inbox, how can they be held accountable when they click on a malicious link or download an infected attachment? It is up to every enterprise to train its staff to identify phishing emails. This also includes executive level employees and company directors. Whaling is a type of highly targeted phishing attack that is aimed at business leader and top-level employees. Upper management make for superior targets as when they are fooled, the higher access levels they enjoy due to their position fall into the hands of threat operators.

The best practice is to start cybersecurity training as part of your onboarding process so that new employees understand how important it is. However, training must be continuous. Regular phishing tests ensure staff don’t become rusty and complacent but also ensures that their knowledge is up to date. Ransomware operators constantly evolve the tactics that they use to match the latest guidance given by experts like the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Technological solutions are invaluable, but when you train your staff to spot phishing messages, each one becomes an individual alarm that can detect and report a threat.

Get protected with Galaxkey

At Galaxkey, we have designed a secure workspace equipped with tools for advanced data protection. Engineered to be user-friendly, our solution allows your employees to wrap three layers of encryption around sensitive company data with a single mouse click and keep it protected against ransomware attacks.

Contact us now to start your free two-week trial.