Ransomware; is your business safe?

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You will most likely have heard about the recent cyber-attack that has affected the NHS. The WannaCry program infected an estimated 70,000 devices in the NHS including:

  • Computers,
  • MRI scanners,
  • Blood-storage refrigerators
  • Theatre equipment.

WannaCry preyed on a cyber security gap in outdated Microsoft Windows systems. Although Microsoft had released a security update, not all users had installed it. This allowed WannaCry to spread like wildfire infecting over 230,000 computers globally.

How does WannaCry work?

It takes only one computer in a network to be infected. Once in the network the WannaCry program can spread to every device connected to the network within seconds. Vigilance is vital. Like other ransomware, users are locked out of their computers until a specified sum is paid. Payment demands start out modest at £230, but the amount doubles if no payment is made within three days. If payment is still not received after this time, then files are threatened with deletion.

Another virus?

Whilst it has gone quiet with regards to WannaCry, a new virus the Petya virus or a variation known as GoldenEye – has hit major government agencies and operations in the Ukraine and Russia, as well as a range of companies throughout Europe and the US. Sectors that were affected include financial services, transportation, energy, manufacturing, and professional services, among others. In many cases, the attack led to the suspension of operations and significant business interruption.

Cyber security considerations

It can be difficult to know how best to respond to this kind of threat. Some experts recommend not paying the demand as there is no guarantee you will get your data back. You should consider taking the following precautions:

  • Run all Windows updates and turn on auto-updaters
  • Update your network security
  • Look into which anti-virus, as well as anti-malware software is best for your organisation. Ensure you install on all of your organisation’s computers.
  • Back up all documents regularly onto a separate drive.
  • Provide your employees with cyber security training. This should include how to recognise a cyber-attack, and phishing email scams. Your employees can often be your greatest vulnerability. Providing better training gives you a greater defence against attacks.
  • Review your cyber insurance cover to check your levels of protection. Remember you will want to consider protecting both your company reputation and finances.

If your business has been directly or indirectly impacted by a cyberattack, you need to act quickly to contain the outbreak and collect information needed to make a claim by:

  • Notifying your account manager of the incident and discussing the cover available and to access any breach support and recovery services available under your policy.
  • Making sure you preserve information and document the timeline of the incident and recovery efforts, which you may need later to file a claim.

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Source: Zywave: Newsbrief: Aftermath of Wannacry Ransomware yet to be Seen

 

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About the author

A marketer for the last 4 years, Alison believes in the value of great content marketing and enhancing the customer experience.