Written by Anne Trafton, CNN Written by Anne Trafton, CNN Written by Anne Trafton, CNN
Ransomware has become a popular attack method. Hackers lock computers by asking a victim to pay ransom in the form of an online cryptocurrency, and only unlock the computer if they send the victim the money.
But with that threat looming, researchers say the ability to detect and shut down and repair computers within minutes is better than ever. That’s why a handful of companies have created technology that prevents hackers from infecting machines before they have the chance to encrypt data and spread ransomware.
Luka Rocca, chief executive officer of Imac (which produces firmware that enables OS patches), the first company to receive the Kaspersky Lab US Sustainable Computing Award,
said that companies need to prepare themselves, in a global landscape where cybercrime continues to grow and the threat of ransomware has only increased.
As more customers move online, he explained, the chances of an attack occurring on a larger scale rise. “One of the main ways attacks happen is on computers in a factory or in a retail store,” he said. “A lot of machines with this type of reputation are harder to protect because it’s often the older devices that are on the network.”
That means that organisations must protect themselves by investing in rewritable malware shields, which break down once infected machines are shut down and so can prevent hackers from spreading.
Here’s how several companies can keep cyberattack threats at bay.
Imac’s firmware protects against exploitable vulnerabilities, such as Meltdown and Spectre, by storing code and memory on a hard disk rather than relying on external storage. When that scenario could present an opportunity for hackers to launch a attack, the firmware “ensures that exploit attempts will be classified as false positives.”
That said, even the safest systems are not totally impervious. Rochard-Zeiger called it “a constant threat that you’ll never really eliminate completely.” As he explained, “all software is changed and updated so you can never 100% guarantee zero vulnerability.”
Given that fix-it solutions are slow to implement, Rochard-Zeiger recommends using a few pieces of software that can be quickly deployed on all of a company’s devices. Those include software that can manage mobile devices, such as the Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems, to protect users from unexpected and harmful changes.
To protect against malware that compromises a company’s network, director of technology and operations at Sharp Security, Jeffrey Wawro, recommends software that scans a network and can retrieve server-based information if information is compromised.
“It’s like flushing your toilet,” he said. When that sensor detects a change in a network, it alerts a large patching group that works alongside security experts to patch up a network, within a matter of minutes.
Hive has been deployed by companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Honeywell in major locations.
For Rochard-Zeiger, the most important thing is to stay ahead of hackers. He said, “The security industry has to pay attention to cyber security as we are running the risk of cyberattack and ransomware attacks becoming commonplace as devices become more connected in our daily lives.”