Ransomware is making the news again this month, with the WannaCry virus that affected hundreds of thousands of computers in many countries around the world (150 countries according to Wikipedia), including the United States. This virus would encrypt all of your files and demand ransom in turn for the decryption key. If your data was not properly backed up, your data would be at risk.
This particular strand of ransomware attacked a known vulnerability in Windows operating systems, called the EnternalBlue exploit. Microsoft had released a patch for it so if your computers were properly patched you were not at risk. If you are in the habit of delaying Windows updates, your system was at risk. While systems running Windows XP were most at risk due to the fact that there was no patch out for the vulnerability (Microsoft has since released a patch that XP users have to manually download), but the vast majority of infected computers were Windows 7 computers. This is due in part to the vast proliferation of Windows 7 as compared to Windows XP which has been phased out in many places as well as the change in policy with Windows 10 that makes it more difficult to delay and manage updates. Since Microsoft installs updates for you in most versions of Windows 10, most systems were patched.
While keeping your systems properly patched was the best defense in this case, most strands of ransomware attack through email or enticing users to click on ads or other click bait to infect computers. The vast majority of ransomware strands work in this manner. This is why it is critical to have defenses for these types of attacks. Quality spam filtering is important to filter out much of the email attacks. User education is key to recognizing those attacks that make it past the spam filter. Web filtering is key to preventing users from going to known bad sites and accidentally infecting their machines. Finally, as a last resort, having a reliable backup system in place is your last defense. Paying ransom should never be an option, as it only perpetuates the cycle. Security is best applied in layers.
As we have said in many previous blog posts, if you are running your business the same way you were three or four years ago, you are falling behind. This is especially true with security. The security threats have dramatically increased in that time and your security defenses need to keep pace.
Contact us today to review your data security at (888) 600-4560, email us, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.