Imagine this: You receive an email, apparently from a reputable source, such as Best Buy, where you had recently purchased a flat screen TV. The email states that if you click on the link, you will instantly receive a $25 gift card good towards your next purchase. You had your eye on a brand new blu-ray DVD player to go with that nice TV you just bought. Why not? So you decide to click on the link.
Oops. You probably shouldn’t have done that.
Your machine is now infected with malware and to secure your data or block further nefarious access to your computer, it is demanding that you pay ransom.
WannaCry ransomware, subject of the most recent and most severe ransomware attack to date, affected over 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries. As the name suggests, this malware will make you want to do just that. Cry. The worst part is? The number of ransomware attacks is growing. It’s time to wipe away the tears and to begin taking measures that will prevent similar attacks.
- Partner with a trusted Managed Service Provider to perform updates. Those having the most recent Windows updates installed were not vulnerable to the WannaCry ransomware attack. These updates no longer need to be tedious and bothersome. Let your MSP ensure your machines have the latest Windows and other common application updates installed and are functioning correctly. If you do not yet have a MSP, at the very least, make sure your automatic updates are turned ON.
- Stay away from outdated operating systems. WannaCry ransomware targeted businesses running outdated Windows machines. These systems rarely receive software updates because the technology is outdated and no longer supported. Doing updates on your computer is similar to changing the oil in your car. Like your car, technology requires upgrades and maintenance.
- Use a trusted third-party firewall and antivirus software. At a bare minimum, you should have the current anti-virus software on your Windows PC. However, just remember – not all firewalls and antivirus protection are created equal.
- Never run or open files you don’t trust. One of the easiest ways for hackers to infect your PC is by sending an attachment or a link through an email that you may be likely to open. If you receive an email message from an unknown source or one of which you’re wary, it is best practice to ignore the attachments and links, discard the email to your junk/spam folder, delete the email, and empty the recycle bin on your PC. If you receive an email that appears trustworthy but is unsolicited, hover over enclosed links with your cursor, without clicking, and examine the full URL of the link’s destination in the lower corner of your browser.
- Backup your important data regularly. Despite taking these precautions, there is always a chance your data could be compromised….and we all know what you are doing at work is extremely important. Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough: BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP. Regular backups will prevent you from losing access to or completely losing your data if there was an attack such as WannaCry.
While these five steps can help minimize the risk of a ransomware attack on your business, there may be other, underlying vulnerabilities open for exploitation. Micro Visions can help deter future issues, implementing solutions tailored to your business. If you’re like Lesley Gore or Amy Winehouse and would rather save the tears for your next party, contact us to discuss solution options.
Micro Visions, Inc.
264 Leonard St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504