WannaCry Ransomware

Cyber Attack: WannaCry Ransomware

WannaCry: What is it?

As you may have read or heard on the news, hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide were attacked Friday by malware called WannaCry. The attack took the form of ransomware, a malicious software that encrypts random files on the victim’s computer and holds them for a specific ransom that must be paid in order to decrypt the infected files.

In this case, the ransom is $300 per affected file. There is no other way to reverse the effects and no guarantee that paying the ransom will restore the encrypted file. The attack has affected an estimated 300,000 computers in over 150 countries.

Am I at risk?

This attack exploited a security vulnerability in nearly every desktop and server version of Microsoft Windows operating systems from Windows XP, to Windows Server 2012 R2. Microsoft has published security patches for all affected systems to their Windows Update servers. These patches can be downloaded and installed at will on personal computers and servers.

For Thrive and Core Services clients, we leverage our “best practices” and manage the process by which those clients’ systems and software are updated and maintained. We have already pushed the appropriate patches out to all those clients’ machines to ensure they are immune to this attack.

If you do not subscribe to our Thrive or Core Services, you should immediately run Windows Update on your system. It is typically scheduled to automatically download and install updates. However, this is a critical update. Don’t wait for the scheduled download!

How can I protect myself from future attacks?

Protecting your computers and critical data from attacks involves multiple tools. We recommend three critical processes:

  1. Keep all Systems, Drivers and Software Updated and Secure

Thrive and Core Services clients get a management agent installed on every supported computer in their organization. This agent informs us of the status of the installed components, drivers and software. Critical updates, like security patches, are installed immediately. Other less critical updates are put through testing and development stages before installation to prevent conflicts or downtime.

  1. Install a Quality Antivirus Application
    We deploy ESET Endpoint Antivirus and set it to update every ten minutes. This too is part of the service provided to our clients when they subscribe to Thrive or Core Services.
  2. Ensure Online Backup Solutions
    Despite best practices, policies and processes, not every negative issue can be prevented. The negative impact of hardware failure or malicious software attacks can be minimized by the security of an effective, tested and dependable online backup policy. This is included in all our Thrive and Core Services Your systems are backed up to secure servers on the Internet enabling us, when necessary, to restore single files or entire systems.

How can I protect myself at home?

You can certainly protect the computers you use at home by implementing all levels of protection listed above.

  1. Keep all Systems, Drivers and Software Updated and Secure
    Windows Update can and should be set to automatically check for, download and install updates. Additionally, you can manually initiate this process whenever you think you might be at risk.
  2. Install a Quality Antivirus Application
    There should always be a reputable, well-reviewed antivirus application installed on your computer. We don’t recommend free versions of antivirus software due to poor outcomes.
  3. Ensure Online Backup Solutions
    There are personal and home online backup solutions available on the market. We recommend you practice a certain level of due diligence before subscribing to one of these services. They are not all equal.

How can Stepping Forward Technology help?

We’ve developed a set of ‘best practices’ from our 10 years of IT support. The results? Clients’ systems are protected equipping them to focus on their work without being preoccupied with faulty computer systems and networks. Our best practices are reviewed routinely and modified frequently as we are exposed to new technologies, new issues and, unfortunately, new threats.

Please contact us at 719-302-2808 or check out our website if you have any questions about how we might be able to support your organization and your technology needs.

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