Global Ransomware Attack WannaCry Paralyzes Thousands of Businesses

You most likely have heard about the recent ransomware cyber-attack WannaCry that has impacted more than 250,000 devices in over 150 countries across the nation. Countries throughout Europe were hit the hardest, and several large companies and organizations were cripplingly impacted; including banks, hospitals, and government agencies. While the spread of the virus has slowed down, most security analysts agree that it is far from being over.

This article will help answer some questions you may have about WannaCry and provide you with useful tips on how to avoid falling victim to a cyberattack.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that typically targets businesses and organizations. The software basically encrypts essential files on your Windows devices and then requires users to pay a ransom to unlock those files. These files may contain your company’s financial information, client info, invoices, and any other data that a business would typically store on its computers.

How can I tell if my business is infected with this virus?

If your system is infected with WannaCry, you will know it. Users will receive a message displayed on the computer when attempting to access files demanding a ransom payment of $300 in bitcoins. The warning threatens to double the amount in three days to $600, and permanently delete all of your files if the ransom is not paid within seven days of infection.

How can I protect myself from this type of attack?

Regardless of which operating system you run, you should install any and all available security updates immediately. Specifically, Windows users with machines that run Windows XP, Windows 8, or Windows 2003 should immediately install the most recently released security update issued by Microsoft.

Many businesses don’t worry about cyberattacks until it is too late. Don’t be naive in thinking that your business is not a target. Small businesses are a prime target for hackers simply because of the fact that they often do not devote a lot of time or money to cybersecurity. Hiring a managed service provider to take charge of your network security and data backup is one of the most effective ways to protect your business from a cyber-attack.

It is also important to train your employees to recognize online threats and to avoid falling victim to hackers. Your employees should be able to recognize suspicious emails and pop-ups and be trained on how to effectively deal with them.