When the so-called WannaCry ransomware attack swept across the globe recently, it took hospitals, businesses, and consumers by storm, affecting tens of thousands of people.
Perhaps the most alarming part about the attack: it’s still going and it’s still evolving.
The attack preys upon a vulnerability in Microsoft operating systems, making it particularly widespread. Attempts to completely end the attack have been met with evolved ransomware attacks that take advantage of the same weakness.
This is a strain of ransomware that you don’t even need to click something to get.
Understandably, a lot of businesses and consumers want to know how to protect themselves.
Stop WannaCry ransomware from taking your business down:
1. Install all Microsoft patches. Microsoft put out a security patch that corrected this now-exploited vulnerability back in March. Yet, many companies do not regularly update their operating systems. We ensure that patches are installed when they come out, and have verified that this patch was installed for our clients.
2. Use current software. Many companies use Microsoft operating systems that are no longer supported by Microsoft – including Windows XP for their desktops or Server 2003 for their servers. Because it’s not supported, it’s no longer receiving security patches. If you’re using XP or other software that is no longer supported, upgrade immediately.
3. Have image-based backups. The best way to prevent ransomware from taking your business down is to ensure that you have an image-based backup system. That way, if your network gets infected, you can easily restore the data without paying ransom.
Think you’re infected? Take these evasive actions immediately:
1. Shut everything down and disconnect the infected computers from network.
2. Call a reputable IT provider with expertise in dealing with ransomware to determine your best course of action.
3. Avoid paying ransoms where possible. There are no guarantees you get your files back, and there is a strong possibility that malware will be left on your PC.
Warding off future ransomware attacks
With cybersecurity experts warning users to batten down the hatches for the next wave of ransomware exploiting these vulnerabilities, it’s important to start being proactive and educated. Your staff should know what to do in the event that they click on something and realize they made a mistake. There’s no shame in the mistake, ransomware is rampant.
If it’s not WannaCry, or similar variants, it will be something else. Being prepared to deal with ransomware is not something you do after an attack hits mainstream media. It’s something you and your IT provider should be proactively defending against.