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Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a computer system’s data and demands payment to restore access. To help organizations protect against ransomware attacks and recover from them if they happen, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a series of simple tips and tactics.

NIST’s advice includes:

  • Use antivirus software at all times.
  • Keep all computers fully patched with security updates.
  • Use security products or services that block access to known ransomware sites on the internet.
  • Configure operating systems or use third-party software to allow only authorized applications to run on computers, thus preventing ransomware from working.
  • Restrict or prohibit use of personally owned devices on your organization’s networks and for telework or remote access unless you’re taking extra steps to assure security.

NIST also advises users to follow these tips for their work computers:

  • Use standard user accounts instead of accounts with administrative privileges whenever possible.
  • Avoid using personal applications and websites, such as email, chat and social media, on work computers.
  • Avoid opening files, clicking on links, etc. from unknown sources without first checking them for suspicious content. For example, you can run an antivirus scan on a file, and inspect links carefully.

In case of an attack, NIST recommends that organizations follow these steps to accelerate their recovery:

  • Develop and implement an incident recovery plan with defined roles and strategies for decision making.
  • Carefully plan, implement and test a data backup and restoration strategy.
  • Maintain an up-to-date list of internal and external contacts for ransomware attacks, including law enforcement.

as reported by hstoday.us.