Over the weekend I came across an article titled Why Aren’t We Taking This Simple Step to Prevent Ransomware? written by Chandra Brown. It was a quick read, that touted the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) to prevent ransomware attacks. MFA is when two or more verification methods are needed to grant access to a device or network and, is in fact, important to enhance the integrity of one’s digital infrastructure.
However, we know one of the biggest faults in an organization’s cybersecurity structure is the human element. Over 90% of cyber incidents are a result of human error. MFA would not prevent these cyber incidents, because these individuals are authorized to be on the network.
So what can you do to stop ransomware?
By deploying a cybersecurity solution that implements application whitelisting, the risk of malware infecting the network is significantly reduced. A zero-trust endpoint security solution can effectively reduce the risk of human error, by eliminating the ability of unknown programs to execute within the company’s network. Application whitelisting agents only permit tested and proven secure programs to run. Therefore, even if an employee is targeted with a phishing email and clicks on a malicious attachment that has ransomware, it will not run because the attachment is not a tested, and proven secure program.
Where does MFA enhance security?
As mentioned, MFA is important to an organizations security stack as well. MFA reduces the risk of cyber criminals brute forcing their way into an organization’s network. Brute force attacks take place when credentials and passwords are attempted repeatedly, until the correct password is found. If MFA is enabled, even if a hacker guesses the correct password, they will not have the secondary method to authenticate access.
Brute force attacks are certainly a risk, and increased in 2020 with the influx of remote employment. However, a majority of cyber attacks take place through phishing emails, where MFA would not stop ransomware.
The unfortunate reality is, there are several attack vectors, or means for cyber criminals to attempt to infect a network. The true way to reduce the risk of malware running within the network goes back to the zero-trust framework of application whitelisting.
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