3 min

Test yourself: How well are you protected against cyber extortion? Ransom Check Tool will show you

Ransomware simulators allow organizations and users to test whether their own network is vulnerable to ransomware. With the explosion of cyberattacks, such tests are extremely useful. The tests can quickly determine if there are ransomware entry points on the network or on PCs.

Cyber risks - Thomas Joos - August 10, 2023

Executable files, office settings or macros can be tested. In addition to the professional tools, which are primarily aimed at experienced IT professionals and administrators, the free Ransomware Check Tool is a software aimed at users. Of course, professionals can also use the tool to check for ransomware entry points on home office PCs or mobile computers. The tests only take a few minutes.

Why the ransomware check tool is useful.

According to a research paper published by the Cyber Rescue Alliance in 2022, almost every company in the world has been targeted by phishing attacks. In 12% of successful attacks, attackers had full access to the company’s data for more than a year before ransomware encrypted the data. In total, three-quarters of all organizations have been attacked with ransomware. That’s an increase of nearly two-thirds since 2021.

When cyberattacks are successful, manufacturing companies quickly run the risk of production being affected. This can even lead to production stoppages, which can have serious financial consequences. According to a report by global insurer Hiscox, one-fifth of companies that have suffered a cyberattack are on the verge of insolvency. In most cases, such attacks begin with successful attacks on individual PCs that may be used in the home office. If a home office PC is infected with ransomware, it can use VPN to enter the corporate network and cause significant damage.

Tools such as the Ransom Check Tool test for vulnerabilities on the network and on PCs that can connect remotely to the network. This allows you to at least identify and secure common entry points. The tool also provides a checklist with tips on how to protect computers and networks from ransomware. The developers are certified by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

Using the ransomware check tool

To run the tool, the first step is to download the file “check.zip”. No installation is required, but the tests are divided into individual files that can be run directly. A password is needed to extract the package. This is “check”. Double click on the file “01 check.exe”. Sometimes virus scanners or security tools block the start of the test. The test “02 Check.xls” opens Excel. If no macro or warning appears, Excel is safe. If not, the tool will display information. The tests can now be continued with the other files. If no warnings appear, the PC is largely secure, if not, the test will display help.

What other steps can I take to protect my business from ransomware?

Ransomware is a serious threat to businesses. To mitigate this threat, it is important that organizations employ a layered defense strategy. First, employee education is critical, as phishing emails and insecure websites are often the gateways for ransomware. Through training, employees can learn to recognize these threats and take appropriate action.

Emphasis should also be placed on up-to-datedness and patch management. Vulnerabilities in software and operating systems are often exploited by ransomware attacks. Organizations should ensure that their systems are always up to date.

In addition, the use of antivirus and anti-ransomware tools is an essential aspect of defense. These tools can help identify and block known threats and even detect suspicious behavior that may indicate previously unknown ransomware. At another level, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) can help detect and block threats before they reach the corporate network.

However, one of the best defenses against ransomware is to perform regular backups. Even if all other defenses fail, backups can help minimize the impact of a ransomware attack. These backups should be stored both offline and, in the cloud, and checked for integrity on a regular basis.

Another important aspect is to use the principle of least privilege, where each employee is given only the minimum access required. This can limit the spread of a ransomware infection in the event of an attack. Finally, every organization should have an incident response plan that provides detailed instructions for handling security incidents, including ransomware attacks. In summary, the most effective defense against ransomware is a combination of well-informed employees, up-to-date software, powerful security tools, and best security practices.

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