The WannaCry ransomware virus, a previously unknown malware software, has made a massive impact on the technology community worldwide. In fact, the virus has infected systems in about 120 countries worldwide.
What is WannaCry Ransomware?
The origins of WannaCry began in March when Microsoft posted a bulletin on TechNet outlining a potential security concern referred to as “EternalBlue”. Originally identified by the NSA, the solution to “EternalBlue” was simple: download the patch Microsoft had created to address the threat and proceed as normal.
It was this threat- a weakness in security if you will- which was eventually addressed by WikiLeaks that allowed the WannaCry virus to erupt with such vigor.
As it began infecting more and more computers, WannaCry slowly became known on an international scale, affecting approximately 200,000 people, and causing more than $80,000 to be paid in ransom by users in order to gain access back to their files.
Ransomware- What Is It?
By definition, Ransomware is exactly what it sounds like; a malicious software that encrypts files, blocks access to a computer, or threatens to damage the software or content of a computer until a given sum of money is paid. The software can be downloaded onto computers through malicious sites or malvertisements, through spam email, or deliberately targeted to vulnerable systems.
If you’re wondering who might be at risk for an attack by ransomware, the short answer is anyone. But, some are more in jeopardy of obtaining the virus than others. People with weak cyber security or out-of-date antivirus software are particularly vulnerable. Small companies and entrepreneurial businesses are also greatly at risk as they might not have had time to put proper protections in place and they may be unaware of how they are putting their computer systems at risk.
Additionally, in businesses, computers are often linked to a company server or network of computers. When WannaCry infects a computer in a network, it will scan the network for all vulnerable computers connected to it, and proceed to target them.
Worst part is its working. 70% of businesses pay the ransom to obtain their information. With all this information to digest, many people are wondering, “How could you let something like this happen to your computer?!” Fret not- there is much you can do to prevent ransomware.
What Can You Do to Prevent WannaCry Ransomware?
Most experts from reputable sources firmly state to NEVER pay the ransom if you fall prey to WannaCry. This perpetuates the problem and gives the hackers what they want.
Prevention-wise, there is much you can do. In fact, at Triella, we provide excellent methods of prevention in regards to the WannaCry outbreak.
1) Backing Up Data:
Firstly, a simple solution to the issue is to back up all of your data on a separate network that would be unaffected if a ransomware virus were to infect your systems. That way, even if your computer is infected, it wouldn’t matter, because a copy of the data is safely stored elsewhere.
At Triella we carefully monitor all our client’s backups daily. Even more, Triella will seek out and resolve the issues that can occur when backing up data, even coming on-site to solve a problem.
2) Updating Your Systems:
Another method of ensuring protection from ransomware is to ensure that all company systems are up to date. Updated systems are protected from security threats that are currently relevant to the technological world. Outdated systems are not protected from the thousands of viruses manufactured daily. Essentially, they become “use at your own risk” computers, and are really sitting ducks for hackers.
At Triella, this is not an issue! We ensure that all of your systems are up to date and working at their best capacity.
3) Protecting Your Computer:
Similarly, an obvious (but important) step is ensuring your cyber security software is appropriate for your needs. As we’ve mentioned in prior posts, MacAfee and Norton just won’t cut it in regards to business-level protection. But, there are many services out there that will. For example, Triella works with Webroot, a program that provides top-notch Internet security for your business.
Finally, the simplest way to prevent ransomware is communication. Make sure your staff is wary about opening potentially threatening emails, downloading Internet files, and visiting unsecure websites on company computers. Additionally, ensuring strong communication with your staff in regards to relevant cyber-attacks, pertinent technology blunders, and other important news will mean that they will be making informed decisions.
With all this in your arsenal, you are that much safer from the dreaded WannaCry virus. But take heed! Despite the rumored kill switch said to solve the virus, there have been whisperings of a WannaCry 2.0 on the horizon. So, make sure you and your staff are being as cautious as ever, and if you do, the target on your company’s proverbial back will be that much smaller in the eyes of the dreaded WannaCry.
Triella offers a variety of services to protect your systems and computers. For more information on the effects of the WannaCry ransomware viruses and how you can protect your firm, give us a call at 647-426-1004.
Tess Kern is a Student Intern at Triella, a technology consulting firm specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Tess can be reached at 647.426.1004 x 232. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.
© 2017 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.