Quest News™

May 16, 2017

Beware of Ransomware


On May 12, 2017, a ransomware, dubbed WannaCry, attacked thousands of computers spanning over a hundred countries. This is one of the farthest-reaching cyber attacks impacting various industries from hospitals to telecommunication. Ransomware prevents users from accessing their files as they normally would on their computers. It holds data hostage unless you give in to extortion demands. Many organizations have worked with experts to resolve this issue and the threat seems stable for the time being but cyber attacks can be disastrous. A major consequence of ransomware is that there is no guarantee that access or data will be restored to pre-attack state even if the ransom was paid.

Obviously, the best protection is to avoid being attacked. Here are some tips to keep your company safe from cyber attacks:

  • Beware of emails. Unsolicited or unusual emails can contain malicious content that will infect your computer and systems. Before clicking on anything, consider whether it is out of the ordinary. For example, would the sender normally email you regarding this matter and copy this group of people? Watch out for emails with vague or irrelevant subjects and attachments. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and unfamiliar hyperlinks are also red flags.
  • Educate users and manage access. Most cyber attacks are the results of user actions, such as clicking on a malicious link. Educate users on the reality of cyber threats and how they can prevent it. Likewise, be cautious of remote devices connecting to your network. An infected device can corrupt your network.
  • Monitor third party data. Limit access to your network to trusted sources. Data from third parties, such as clients and vendors, could unknowingly contain malware which can lead to a security breach.
  • Update software. It is important to keep your software updated. When firms discover a vulnerability in their software or product, they release an update to rectify it. Make sure that you have their professional solution or you might be left exposed.
  • Install antivirus software and run system audits. Anti-virus and firewall software are designed to guard against viruses and other malware. Use this defensive tool. Additionally, system audits can identify vulnerabilities in your network and systems that are susceptible for cyber attacks.

Ransomware can be complicated and requires a team of experts to defuse the problem. When you’re unable to use your computer and run your business, crisis management is an invaluable service. Making sure your company has a recovery and back-up procedures is important for these situations. Forensic experts can identify the root cause and extent of the damage. Which data records were compromised? Do you have to notify the individuals? Handling all this can be overwhelming, having Cyber Liability insurance can make the process much easier. Learn more on our website or talk to your Avalon representative.

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