On Friday, the globe experienced the wrath of a well-coordinated ransomware attack, known as WannaCry. This attack crippled thousands of public and private institutions overseas in an event that even led to hospitals having to postpone medical procedures.
Before the attack could reach the United States, a lone British researcher was able to find the WannaCry kill-switch. Serendipitously, this lone researcher analyzed the code of ransomware, found an unregistered domain name in the ransomware combination of characters and bought it for 10 dollars and change. Using the purchased domain they were able to analyze a particular pattern in the ransomware which led the domain to assert total control over the virus.
This widespread attack should serve as a warning to all of us. Even though this particular string of ransomware has been foiled, it certainly will not be the last string of ransomware that poses a threat to your security. So, what are the best practices for protecting your business or personal machine from ransomware? This is how our customers fight against ransomware right now:
- Keep your software on all your machines up to date– Despite recent patches to the Windows 10 OS in March, many IT environments are still behind in their own patches of the software and/or may run an OS like Windows XP, which is no longer supported due to end of life support. Machines running current versions of the Windows OS we’re not affected by this ransomware. Vision Computer Solutions can automatically manage Windows OS patches for you, so you will always have the latest and most secure version of windows on your machine.
- Always backup your data- A Datto Server backup is a savior when it comes to backing up files offline, so they cannot be infected. With a superior backup recovery solution like Datto, if you happen to get infected, your machines and data can get back to normal quickly without having to pay any type of ransom.
- Be ultra careful with email attachments- Never open attachments in an email that are sent by someone you don’t know. Most common attachments with malicious intent usually contain Office documents like Word, Excel or PowerPoint, especially ZIP files. To keep our clients safe from email exploits, Clearmail Spam Filtering scans for ransomware and stops it before it gets to your inbox.
- Security Solutions- Running a security solution that covers all your network devices from workstation to tablets. As ransomware variants are always evolving, a robust security solution thats up to date will detect its variants. Services like Webroot Antivrius and Sonciwall Firewall are engineered to provide detection and removal of the latest definitions that are harmful to your environment.
If you’re currently unsure about the state of your IT environment take this free assessment, it is in your best interest to seek a robust solution these potential vulnerabilities in your network. We can offer a wide array of support to facilitate any of the services mentioned above. A safe a secure network is only a few clicks away!