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CISA’s New #StopRansomware Guide & Insights on Vulnerability Scanning & Patching

July 27, 2023

By Mike Walters

I’m back after a short hiatus from blogging, so let’s catch up on some cybersecurity news, starting with the revised #StopRansomware Guide, offering strategies to detect, prevent, respond to, and recover from potential ransomware attacks.

Ransomware threats have been accelerating with new levels of ferocity and sophistication. In an effort to arm organizations with updated tools and strategies to counter these ever-evolving tactics, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) rolled out an updated version of the #StopRansomware Guide on May 23, 2023.

This new guide is based on lessons learned from the recent past while serving as a one-stop resource to help organizations drastically reduce the risk of ransomware incidents. It’s an exhaustive roadmap, providing best practices to detect, prevent, respond to, and recover from potential ransomware attacks. As IT admins and security professionals, it’s incumbent on us to carefully review this joint guide and fortify our defenses against the rampant wave of ransomware and data exfiltration threats.

All Eyes on Vulnerability Scanning and Patching

The guide is broken down into easily digestible parts. I’ll focus on Part 1 labeled as “Ransomware and Data Extortion Preparation, Prevention, and Mitigation Best Practices.” One of the highlights of this section is “Initial Access Vector: Internet-Facing Vulnerabilities and Misconfigurations”. This section emphasizes the fundamental significance of vulnerability scanning and patching, specifically:

  1. Conduct regular vulnerability scanning: By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, particularly on internet-facing devices, the attack surface can be considerably limited. Regular scanning not only reveals potential loopholes for attacks but also helps in continuously updating the defense system.
  2. Patch and update software regularly: Keeping software and operating systems updated to the latest versions is a key preventive measure. It’s even more crucial to promptly patch internet-facing servers known to operate software for processing internet data. Addressing these known exploited vulnerabilities significantly strengthens defenses.
  3. Regular patching of Domain Controllers (DCs): The guide urges organizations to ensure that their DCs are regularly patched, with an emphasis on applying patches for critical vulnerabilities as soon as possible.

A Robust Offense Is the Best Defense

The role of IT admins in the implementation of these strategies cannot be overstated. It is through your diligent efforts in patching and securing systems that these ransomware threats can be effectively kept at bay. Vulnerability scanning and patching are essentially offensive strategies in the grand scheme of IT security, preemptively identifying potential areas of weakness and fortifying them before they can be exploited.

Automate Your Patching with Tools like Action1

In the modern IT landscape where the volume and complexity of potential threats are escalating, automation can play a key role in maintaining a robust defense system. Patch management automation solutions such as Action1 can help streamline and automate your patching process, effectively reducing manual workload while enhancing security posture.

Action1 not only automates patching but also adds a security context to it, based on real-time vulnerability scanning. This allows you to prioritize patches based on the severity of vulnerabilities identified, providing an effective and efficient way to keep your systems safe from ransomware threats.


Ransomware threats may be evolving, but so too are our strategies to combat them. By embracing the recommendations in CISA’s updated #StopRansomware Guide and leveraging automated vulnerability remediation tools like Action1, we can mount a proactive and powerful defense against these pernicious threats.

Do you think you have an effective ransomware prevention plan in place? Let’s discuss this on Action1 subreddit or Action1 Discord.

About Action1

Action1 is the #1 risk-based patch management platform for distributed enterprise networks trusted by thousands of organizations globally. Action1 helps to discover, prioritize, and remediate vulnerabilities in a single solution to prevent security breaches and ransomware attacks. It automates patching of third-party software and operating systems, ensuring continuous patch compliance and remediation of security vulnerabilities before they are exploited.

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