Just 3 days prior to the start of Business Continuity Awareness Week 2017 – which is focused on cyber resilience this year, a new worldwide cyber-attack was discovered. The WannaCry virus is a form of ransomware that holds infected computers hostage and requests the victim pay a ransom if they wish to regain access to computer files.
Details on the WannaCry Virus
WannaCry was discovered Friday, May 12th and has managed to infect an estimated 57,000 computers by the end of that day. In addition, the attack is worldwide – spreading to more than 150 countries, though countries within Europe were seemingly hit the hardest.
With the attack being so widespread, it’s not over quite yet. However, on Saturday, May 13th a 22-year-old security researcher was able to slow down WannaCry Virus’ ability to spread.
To read more on how he was able to slow down the virus’ ability to spread, click here to read his blog post.
WannaCry began by demanding $300 to regain access to computer files, many people are holding out on paying the ransom, however the virus warned that failure to pay the ransom after three days might result in a payment increase. The virus also threatens that if no payments have been made after seven days, it will delete the files altogether.
Protect Yourself from WannaCry and Other Ransomware
In order to protect yourself from WannaCry virus, you need to immediately install any and all security updates. Any Windows users should install this security update released by Microsoft on Friday.
In addition, there are many ways that you can protect yourself from the WannaCry virus, along with other forms of ransomware that are similar.
- Passwords – Create strong passwords that include numbers, letters and special characters. Also keep in mind that you should change your passwords once every 3-6 months in order to decrease your chances of being exposed to ransomware.
- Click with Caution – Realize that not every link that you see online or that gets sent to you is legitimate. Be cautious and educated about what types of links you should or should not click on. Mindlessly clicking can lead to an increased chance of a ransomware attack.
- Anti-Malware Protection – Having an anti-malware protection is also very important. This helps your computer identify what is malware and prevents you from accessing it in order to prohibit human error.
- Training – Train all employees on the importance of understanding the importance of cybersecurity. The large majority of all ransomware attacks are caused by human error, which means that they are very much preventable with proper training and knowledge.
My Computer is Already Infected with WannaCry, Now What?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for WannaCry virus yet and it is still a live threat. At this time, the only options are to wait it out or pay the ransom. Europol director, Rob Wainwright stated, “We will get a decryption tool eventually, but for the moment it is still a live threat and we’re still in disaster recovery mode.”
Thankfully, as of Monday, May 15th, the cyber-attack was thought to not be as successful as expected with 200,000 computers affected by Sunday, May 14th.
Preparis and Cyber Resilience
Due to the increasing amount of cybersecurity breaches in today’s world, it is imperative that every company has a cybersecurity plan in place that is able to prevent, protect, and help your business recover from any form of cyber-attack. Here at Preparis, we value the importance of cybersecurity and offer Cyber Incident Response Planning, Cyber Network Vulnerability Assessments and IT Policies and Procedures Review to help make sure that your company is prepared for the unexpected.
Preparis also offers many different cybersecurity trainings and resources that will help to ensure that you and your employees are properly trained for any cyber-attack.
For more information on how to protect your company from similar attacks, click here to download a free data breach checklist.