On May 12, 2017, a global ransomware attack infected computers in more than 150 countries. This includes more than 10,000 professional organizations and 200,000 individuals. The malware that caused this widespread infection is called WannaCry, but WannaCry is far from the only ransomware out there.
Tell Me More About Ransomware
Ransomware is a malicious software that locks all the files on your computer and demands payment in order to regain access and control. Depending on the nature and sensitivity of your files, there may even be a threat to publish your files, data or photos. You know ransomware is present the instant you log into your infected computer, because the only thing you will be able to access is the ransom demand. In the case of WannaCry, the owners of infected computers were required to pay $300 in bitcoin within six hours or the ransom increased.
Understandably so, many businesses were leery to pay the WannaCry ransom. They were uncertain if their files would indeed be released or if their data had been compromised. This includes the government agencies, hospitals and major corporations like Nissan and FedEx who were victims of this cyber-attack.
Your Computer Can Be Infected Even If You Haven’t Clicked on a Suspicious Link
Ransomware is advanced malware that actively targets backdoors in weak computers. In other words, your computer can become infected even if you haven’t clicked on a suspicious link or opened a suspicious email. As unfortunate as it may be, cyber-criminals get smarter by the minute.
How to Protect Your Computer and Your Business From a Ransomware Attack
There are several things you can do to protect your computer from virus, malware, ransomware and outside intrusion of any kind. Precautions will continue to evolve, so it is always wise to have an IT team who stays on top of cybersecurity:
- Install all Windows, browser, security and software updates. While they may be time consuming to install, your updates are designed to protect against the most common security threats. In the case of WannaCry, computer owners who had failed to install their March Windows updates were targeted.
- Backup your data each and every day. If your data is backed up, you will at least have access to your files and data. While this won’t help you regain control of your computer or provide leverage for regaining sensitive files, it ensures you have a secure copy of everything you need.
- Don’t click. Don’t open suspicious emails, click on suspicious links or click on pop-ups you are unfamiliar with.
- Work with a tenured IT professional. Your small or mid-sized business might not have the need for a full-time IT team, but you certainly have a need for advanced cybersecurity. Since most of us use our personal computers for work and store increasingly private information on home laptops and computers, there is also a need for personal cybersecurity.
If you haven’t yet, install the most recent Windows and security updates on your computers. As a parent, have ongoing discussions with your kids regarding cybersecurity. As a business owner, have ongoing discussions with your employees — and never underestimate the need for ongoing IT services.
CMIT Solutions of Centreville provides a strategic approach to IT consulting that improves performance of your business technology in the most cost-effective way possible. Assisting businesses in Centreville, Chantilly, Dulles, Gainesville, Manassas and Haymarket, we can help you achieve the fastest return on your technology investment. Call 703-881-7738 today to see how we can help your business stay in business.