This month’s global cyber-attack using ransomware stopped many hospitals and businesses in their tracks. Business Garage gives the lowdown and tips on how to prepare against future attacks.
What is ransomware?
Malicious software that encrypts documents and locks the computer. The hacker then demands a ransom – the recent attack asked for $300 bitcoin to unlock each computer.
The software usually sneaks in through phishing attacks, i.e. an attachment to an email that masquerades as something innocent. Once opened it encrypts the hard drive, making it impossible to access or retrieve any stored documents.
How did the attack work?
On 12th May, the WannaCry ransomware exploited a vulnerability in older Windows operating systems, prompting Microsoft to push through a security patch for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8 to help defend against such attacks.
Experts strongly recommend against paying the ransom, because not only is it unlikely your files will be restored, but you will also be supporting future crime. Less than 100 victims paid up in the May attacks.
How can I protect my business?
- Ensure you update your anti-virus software regularly
- Consider upgrading to a more recent version – software companies are always devising defences against new forms of attack
- Back up your data daily to a secure place: a Backup and Disaster Recovery company, separate to your server
- Do not click on any suspicious links or open attachments which you are unsure of – it is definitely best to be safe rather than sorry! Check with IT if in doubt.
- If you are under attack from ransomware, immediately shut down all machines on the network and contact your IT department
- If you do not have internal IT, you should already have in place a trusted, highly responsive IT partner who will immediately halt any attacks and work quickly to restore data
If you would like Business Garage to connect you with our trusted IT partner, get in touch at [email protected]