WannaCry Ransomware: Be Aware

ransomware security alert
  • May 16, 2017
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Everyone’s talking about WannaCry, the new ransomware attack that has affected more than 200,000 users and businesses in 150+ countries. This malicious software is particularly aggressive and can spread rapidly throughout an organization crippling the business.

Strong IT security is a combination of technology, process, and education all of which are essential to thwart and recover from an attack. While viruses and other malware is and will always be a threat to all computer systems and networks, there are many ways you can protect your company and minimize the risks associated with malware.

Here are just a few:

Technology & Process

  • Use anti-virus and anti-malware software and always make sure to have the most current updates installed
  • Run routine anti-virus scans of all systems especially email to detect threats early and often
  • Ensure your Windows and MacOS operating systems are current and all security patches have been installed
  • Avoid using outdated and unsupported operating systems and software
  • Make sure you have a business-grade firewall and that it is running on the latest software
  • Always follow data back-up best practices to avoid paying ransoms and insure you can recover using your backed up data
  • Conduct regular “penetration tests” against your network to identify security vulnerabilities
  • Because attacks can and do affect businesses of all sizes, having a recovery plan or business continuity plan can minimize downtime and potential loss

Education

  • Do not pay the ransom. Call your managed IT services provider first. In many cases, such as WannaCry there is no evidence the hackers give companies and people their files back.
  • Educate employees on identifying scams, malicious links and emails that may contain viruses
  • Be careful not to click on harmful or suspicious links in emails
  • Avoid visiting unsafe or unreliable websites
  • Never download an attachment or click on a link that you were not expecting to receive. Even from people you may know and trust such as a colleague or friend. If you were not expecting the message contact the sender to verify its authenticity.
  • Only download software from trusted sources
  • Do not click “trust” on a web page or on Facebook or messaging applications such as WhatsApp
  • Be aware of fraudulent e-mail messages that use names similar to popular services such as “PayePal” (instead of PayPal), LinkedEn (instead of LinkedIn) or use popular service names without commas or excessive characters.

Consider using a managed IT services provider to assure your computing environment is as secure and protected as possible.

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