Ransomware isn’t new, but the far-reaching consequences of the recent WannaCry attack awakened people around the world to its dangers.  Here’s how you can guard against ransomware in your business.

The WannaCry ransomware infected hundreds of thousands of machines across 150 countries, making it the largest ransomware attack in history.  It encrypted data and demanded a reported ransom of several hundred dollars per machine.  This attack primarily targeted machines running Microsoft Windows that were not adequately patched, even though the security patch had been available for almost two months.

What to know about WannaCry and ransomware in general:

  • The hackers’ goal is to get money (the ransom paid in Bitcoin). They’re not particularly interested in your data.  They are counting your data being important enough to you that you’ll pay to get it unlocked.
  • Ransomware doesn’t just “pop up” on its own on your computer. You have to click on something (an attachment, link, etc.) to activate it.
  • It can affect anyone at any time, at work (or at home).

A Multi-Layered Security Approach

To keep your network security robust, use a multi-layered approach. There are no technical filters or barriers that can block 100% of threats because the number of new cyberattacks grows almost every minute.

The final defense always comes from users.  Users can create a “human firewall” by understanding the risks, learning the necessary security practices, and being vigilant at all times.

Tech Tools to Guard Against Ransomware

These technologies can block infected emails and websites to help guard against ransomware in your Inbox and while you’re browsing:

  • Email Security and Spam Control
  • Managed Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware
  • Managed Firewall
  • Two-factor Logon Authentication
  • Web Filtering, DNS Blocking

In addition, make sure you’re running current operating systems with updated patches (that means replacing any remaining computers running Windows XP).   Also, have a reliable process to create regular backups that restore properly.

Create a “Human Firewall”

The fact is everyone who uses a computer is responsible for protecting your business network.  In addition to the technology itself, have a Technology Use Policy in place and conduct regular cybersecurity training for all staff.

Remind your users to be extremely careful online and when opening email:

  • Don’t open or preview email from people you don’t know or are not expecting.
  • “Click safely” by not clicking on unknown attachments, strange links, or unsafe websites.
  • Do not transfer funds or release personal information requested in an email without confirming it first, even if the sender’s name and email appear to be legitimate.

It’s not too late to improve your security and guard against ransomware in your business.  If you’re not sure about the security of your network, ask your IT provider.

If you’d like to know more about how CRU Solutions can help with your business IT, contact us.