25 May 2017

Outsmarting cyberattackers: are you protected from ransomware?

Written by Christopher Liko, Posted in ComputerTalk, Technology

The WannaCry ransomware attack began on May 12, 2017, quickly infecting more than 230 000 computers in 150 countries. This attack was considered unprecedented in scale, targeting a vulnerability in Microsoft's SMB protocol. The WannaCry virus demanded a $300 bitcoin ransom to unlock infected computers and allow access to personal data. In the wake of this (still ongoing) ransomware attack, what can we do to protect ourselves?

How do we do it?

Here at ComputerTalk, we follow a very stringent set of cyberprotection guidelines. As the provider of a PCI-DSS compliant private cloud, our organization must adhere to strict policies inside and outside of our cloud environment. One such measure is a software update policy. We ensure that all computers on our network are running the most recent software updates, to protect from any and all vulnerabilities. A Windows patch was released by Microsoft on March 14, 2017, to address the same vulnerability targeted by the WannaCry virus. Had an update policy not been in place, it would be possible that some machines on the network would be vulnerable, opening up the entire network to the threat. Some organizations suffered thousands of dollars in losses from the attack; this can often be attributed to a lackadaisical attitude toward software updates on the company network. There are many other ways to protect your network from cyberattacks, but implementing a software update policy is an excellent first step.