This past weekend, thousands of organizations around the globe were affected by the WannaCry (Wanna, WannaCrypt, Wcry) ransomware worm. As with similar cases, this recent cyber-attack could have been prevented had the steps below been implemented.
Reboot your computer
It is very important to reboot your computer on a nightly basis. By rebooting your workplace’s computers, you can effectively finalize any updates or program installations performed throughout the day. Many updates don’t take effect until the host computer has been rebooted. In the case of WannaCry, the malware only affected systems that did not receive the Windows patch update MS17-010, which was released on March 14, 2017. Performing patch updates and scheduling them on a regular basis is a procedure in place by managed services providers.
Do not click on any suspicious email
Most ransomware is delivered via email using features designed to entice the email recipient to click on a link. Other common ways are downloads delivered by simply viewing an HTML version of a message or by visiting a web site that has been compromised.
Have a Back-up Strategy
Having a back-up strategy in place is extremely important. The best practice to recover from a ransomware attack like WannaCry is to restore the files from an off-line back-up. Back-ups should include several versions in the case one or more versions have been compromised.
Stay informed about cybersecurity
It is very important for all users to stay informed about cybersecurity. Understand the possible threats, and take proactive measures to secure any vulnerabilities. A few easy ways to keep informed would be to follow a reputable managed IT services provider blog and social sites.
WannaCry is just one of many strains of ransomware where the malware encrypted files on a system’s hard drive are using an unbreakable key. In most cases the cyber-attacker will decrypt the code once the ransom is paid in online currency, such as bitcoin. So far, early reports have not indicated payment in bitcoin will guarantee file decryption.
These are just a few tips to help avoid being impacted by ransomware, malware and other viruses. Following the steps above and taking proactive measures can reduce the risk of cyberattacks.