In blog, Cyber Security for Small Businesses

How you can protect your business in the future

At the time of this blog, more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries have been affected by the ransomware WannaCry. By the time you read this, that number is almost certain to have gone up significantly. If you thought ransomware was something that only happened to other people, this global scare should have alerted you to the importance of protecting your data from ransomware.

Global ransomware attack

WannaCry is the largest ransomware attack in history affecting more than 150 countries.

How did the WannaCry ransomware begin?

The ransomware, WannaCry, began spreading the same way that all ransomware begins: by someone clicking on an unsolicited email. Most likely, the email will look legitimate, ask you to click a link, and maybe even ask you to reset your password. Once you click, malicious software will immediate hold that device hostage. If the user wants to regain control of their files, email, data, and the device, they need to pay a ransom, hence the name “ransomware.” However, once the ransomware has taken over your device, it will use that device to spread to every other device on the network. For global corporations, that’s a very large network with a lot of devices.

How big is the ransom?

The criminals behind ransomware attacks have quickly figured out that holding your digital property for ransom rather than stealing the information is much easier and much more profitable. Typically, the ransom is something that most people, even individuals, will be able to pay. That’s the whole point; to make it seem like less of a nuisance to pay the ransom, rather than try to take action against the ransomware and the criminals behind the attack. In the case of WannaCry, the cybercriminals have been asking for $300 transferred to a Bitcoin account. Now, most people look at this amount and think “What’s the big deal?” Well, $300 may not break the bank for most people, but if you add that $300 to each computer in a global network, you’re going to make quite a lot of money. Plus, the industries that they have targeted, whose systems they have disrupted – like hospitals – can have real life consequences for many people.

Protect yourself against ransomware

Avoid ransomware attacks

Always use the latest version of your software and applications to protect yourself from ransomware.

Despite this being the biggest ransomware attack in history, there was a very simple way of avoiding this attack. UPGRADE YOUR SOFTWARE! This particular strain of malicious software that has infected computers around the globe could have been avoided if companies, and people, would have updated their software. It sounds so simple, yet many people put off upgrading software, either due to time or because they’re trying to cut costs by using older versions longer than they should.

More ways to protect yourself against ransomware

Besides making sure that you are always using the latest versions of the software on your devices, you also need to:

  • Backup your files regularly
  • Use a password manager
  • Never open unsolicited emails or click suspicious links

IT solutions to protect your business from ransomware

We’re not trying to be Debbie Downers here, but this isn’t going to be the last major ransomware attack we’re going to see. Talk to our experts about the best way to protect your business network and devices from ransomware attacks. We will make sure that all of your software is up to date and your data is secure.

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