“WannaCry” ransomware

by Andre Vaux

Andre is Managing Director at claireLOGIC – a business which delivers IT and Communications services to businesses in the UK.

We’re sure you’ve seen media coverage over the weekend of the “WannaCry” ransomware attack. The scale of the attack has been huge.
What happened?
Several large organisations were hit by a ransomware attack. This is where a computer gets infected with a certain type of virus. Once infected the virus searches the computer and network for data – files and folders such as Word and Excel documents. When the virus finds those files, it encrypts them so you cannot open them. Once the virus has finished encrypted all the files it then displays a screen explaining what has happened and offering to undo it for a ransom (hence the term ransomware).
Which systems are affected by “WannaCry”? 
Microsoft Windows systems which haven’t been recently updated are at risk.
How do you get infected?
The virus predominantly comes in via an email – a random email contains a link and if you click on it and the computer isn’t patched, you’re infected. Once a computer is infected it will then browse the network looking for other computers to infect too.
What can we do to ensure safety right now? 
A couple of things –
1. Keep Windows up to date. If you have support with us which includes patch management your computers should already be safeguarded against this specific threat. But we would recommend you reboot all your computers today to ensure that any pending updates are installed quickly.
2. Speak to your own team and ensure they are suspicious about emails containing clickable links – even if they look genuine. Dodgy links often look genuine! Make sure your team know the risks.
If in any doubt please call us on 01865 989144.
What else can we do to ensure best safety? 
1. Backup – ensure your data is safely backed up regularly. That way if you do have an infection, you can restore a backup of your data from before it became encrypted.
2. Firewall – ensure you have a decent commercial firewall which can block certain types of attack and filter web traffic. Some also virus scan too.
3. Remove administrator rights from your team – if they don’t have the rights to install software, there’s a good chance they won’t have the rights to install a virus!
If you’re at all concerned please don’t hesitate to call us on 01865 989144 or email support@clairelogic.net

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