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NIST issues draft cybersecurity framework to mitigate ransomware events

Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security NIST Ransomware Risk Management

Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

Recently, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a draft version of its Cybersecurity Framework Profile for Ransomware Risk Management, which proposes recommended steps for organizations to follow to prevent and mitigate ransomware events. The profile identifies Cybersecurity Framework Version 1.1 security objectives and can be used as a risk-management guide to help gauge an organization’s readiness level. Steps include “identifying and protecting critical data, systems, and devices; detecting ransomware events as early as possible (preferably before the ransomware is deployed); and preparing for responses to and recovery from any ransomware events that do occur.” The profile also outlines basic preventative measures organizations should take, including: (i) using antivirus software at all times to automatically scan emails and flash drives; (ii) ensuring computers are fully patched and running scheduled checks to identify and install new patches; (iii) segmenting internal networks as a precaution against malware; (iv) continuously monitoring directory services (and other primary user stores) to identify indicators of compromise or active attack; (v) blocking access to potentially malicious web resource and allowing only authorized applications; (vi) using standard user accounts; (vii) restricting personally owned devices and the use of personal applications on work computers; (viii) educating employees about social engineering; and (ix) assigning and managing credential authorization and running periodic reviews to ensure each account has the appropriate access only. Among other things, NIST further outlines five cybersecurity framework functions (identify, protect, detect, respond and recover), and advises organizations to develop an incident recovery plan; develop, implement, and test data backups and restoration strategies; and maintain updated contacts for ransomware attacks. According to NIST, taking these proactive measures will help organizations recover from future ransomware events.

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