The crazy thing is that small companies are more at risk than big corporations because the viruses search the Internet looking for unlocked doors, or worse, still open doors.
We are in the midst of one of the most prolific cyber security attacks the world has ever seen. The recent WannaCry ransomware, with mysterious links to North Korea, was so wide spread and vicious that it almost brought the UK’s National Health Service’s (NHS) IT system to its knees. This malware has global authorities currently scrambling to protect themselves from future attacks.
The crazy thing is that small companies are more at risk than big corporations because the viruses search the Internet looking for unlocked doors, or worse, still open doors. It’s simple logic… a house burglar will avoid a house with a visible alarm bell or intruder lights and target a visibly unprotected house. It’s the same with online security.
The people least protected are the small offices, home offices and the small to medium size enterprises. It’s a distressed purchase, I get it. But if you do get hacked, you no doubt will have your banking details, scanned documents for insurance, health records, vendor bills, invoices, tax receipts, and perhaps your irreplaceable assets, such as your photos!
So why are some people and some businesses so apathetic – or just naive?
The vendors send us update patches we ignore, we don’t upgrade our virus scanning software, we don’t back up our data, and Uniserve even recently offered a free breakfast seminar about Internet security, but only two people signed up to come. This is not a horse you can wait to bolt on– there might be nothing left of your business.
Our internal security team put together the following brief, so everyone can be up to speed with what happened in regards to the “WannaCry” ransomware attack. It struck more than 200,000 computers in over 150 countries. We know it’s worthwhile information for everyone to have.
What is WannaCry and what can you do about it?
- Ransomware in general is malware that finds its way onto a computer system and encrypts the users data. Ransomware is on the rise and there are thousands of different forms that are lurking on the internet. “WannaCry” is the name given to the variant of ransomware which has perpetrated the attacks this weekend. This particular ransomware is targeting Windows systems.
WannaCry is ransomware specifically crafted to exploit existing Windows weakness to prevent users from accessing their data on devices by a combination of locking users out of the devices or encrypting data. The cyber criminals then hold the data hostage until a payment is made, usually in the form of Bitcoin or another untraceable currency, for release of the keys required to decrypt the data.
How does Ransomware work?
- Ransomware is distributed by an attacker using one or more methods;
- Malicious links in emails or websites,
- Malicious attachments in emails and/or
- Compromised websites or Social Media which infect visitors.
- All malicious software from viruses, trojans, malware and ransomware use unpatched vulnerabilities in the Operating System or Applications to take control of the computer and data.
No operating system is immune, ransomware exists for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
How can users/business protect themselves?
- “Security Hygiene” is the best protection against malware of any type including ransomware. Running anti-malware software and applying software patches to operating systems and applications as soon as possible will close the vulnerability the malware is trying to exploit. “WannaCry”, for example, uses a vulnerability which Microsoft provided a fix for in March of 2017.
- Frequent regular data backups will ensure that if you need to recover data you will only lose the data created since your last backup.
What can Uniserve do for our customers?
- If the customer has already been infected by ransomware, there is nothing any security provider can do to recover the data without the encryption keys from the attacker.
If you have been attacked – (and luckily Canada has been spared from most of the activity so far), you will need to restore a current backup or pay the ransom to recover the data.
Law enforcement usually cannot or will not assist with ransomware attacks on an individual basis but is usually engaged on a broader perspective in tracing the origin of the attack.
- If your computers have not been infected, then Uniserve have several offerings which can help you prepare for a malware attack such as Ransomware, the first step is get in touch asap.
Uniserve’s Transit 5 / 10 / 20 bundles were designed specifically for the small business market, and were just launched on the 1st of May. They are the most comprehensive and inclusive technology packages on the market today.
All our Transit bundles include: high speed internet, a virtual server, data storage, managed firewalls, anti-virus software, managed back ups and automatic windows updates – from $449/month for a company using five computers.
Seriously. Act now, there’s no better time than today.
– Nicholas Jeffery, CEO Uniserve