Last Friday saw the outbreak of a new, high-profile type of ransomware. This virus, named “WannaCry,” has been spreading like wildfire, causing thousands of people to be left with the choice of paying ransom to get their data back. Here are some tips you can implement to avoid falling victim to viruses like WannaCry, or to minimize the impact of the virus in the unfortunate situation that you are affected.
1. Keep your Operating System Up to Date
Always apply the latest service packs that are offered by Microsoft. Keeping up with the latest patches and updates to your operating system will leave you less susceptible to exploits and software defects that allow viruses like WannaCry to break in and infect your data. While Atlantic Metro’s clients with fully managed servers receive these updates automatically, other businesses should be certain that their operating systems have been updated recently.
2. Use a Less Susceptible Operating System
If staying current with your OS is not something you’re skilled at doing, perhaps making a shift entirely might be for you. The WannaCry virus is mainly affecting computers running Microsoft Windows, specifically older variants such as XP or Vista. If you are running MacOS or Linux, both suitable alternatives for desktops these days, you will be out of scope of being vulnerable to this particular virus.
3. Use Spam and Anti-Virus Protection.
Make sure your email is being protected with Anti Virus software. One available option is to use Atlantic Metro’s Managed Message Protection solution to filter suspicious files on the server side, right as mail is coming or leaving, as well as block SPAM messages. However, at bare minimum, have some sort of current Anti Virus software on your Windows PC to help prevent WannaCry.
While these services offer a great defense against this sort of ransomware, your employees have to be smart about file attachments overall. If you do not know the sender, don’t open the attachment. If you do, and it just seems out of color, don’t open the attachment.
4. Have a Reliable Firewall
If you do get caught, having a comprehensive firewall may help the spread of this horrible virus to other devices on your network. However, not all firewalls are equal. Atlantic Metro’s firewall services offer built in protection to block viruses, malware, and can even prevent your users from malicious or offensive websites.
5. Keep Backups
Last, but not least, make sure your data is backed up regularly. Having a daily backup plan will prevent you from losing access to your data if you get caught with this ransomware attack. Make sure that it’s current so that if you do get infected, you won’t lose too much of your data — only a days worth at most.
We facilitate the rapid recovery of mission critical data using both regular, comprehensive data backups and real-time replication of your computing infrastructure. Real-time replication is crucial for the recovery of your most critical servers, should your entire office come down with the virus. This minimizes both data loss due to viruses like WannaCry and allows your business to resume operations quickly.
This recent WannaCry outbreak demonstrates that failing to take proper action to avoid cybersecurity threats is no longer an option. And while these five steps will help to minimize the risk of ransomware like WannaCry, most businesses, regardless of size, should consider developing a larger, comprehensive cybersecurity and disaster recovery plan.
Atlantic Metro can help. We offer a wide range of managed services to our clients that can significantly strengthen the security of your network and computing environments. If you are interested, please submit an inquiry here or speak to a sales representative by calling 212.792.9950, extension 1.