Cyber security hit the headlines again this week with several high-profile victims including the NHS having their data held to ransom with a demand to pay up £230 to get the affected files decrypted. You can learn more about this attack here.
The National Cyber Security Centre is involved in the investigation of this case, but what are the implications for you? What is ransomware and what measures should you take to protect yourself?
Ransomware is the name given to malware which encrypts the data files on a computer and demands payment to provide the encryption key which will give access to the information. There is no guarantee that your data will be released; after all, you are dealing with cybercriminals who are intrinsically not trustworthy.
If you find yourself in this situation, the best solution is to restore your information from backups once all traces of the malware have been removed. You might find that the attack has also disabled your security software; these will need to be checked too.
However, as you all know, prevention is much better than the cure. It pays to take measures to ensure that your systems are protected from cyber attacks. In practice, this entails the following steps:
- Install antivirus protection
- Make sure that Windows updates and security patches are applied
- Run Malwarebytes
- Check that all important data is backed up regularly, and the backups can be restored.
- Antispam protection will prevent many malicious emails from getting through
- Implement a strong password policy; consider using a password manager
- Be wary of clicking on suspicious email attachments or pop-ups.
Our service plan customers can rest assured that we monitor the system and antivirus status for all your computers and we will take steps to bring you up to date if issues are discovered.
The biggest danger for computer systems comes from the computer users themselves. In a busy office, it is easy to assume that an email is from a legitimate sender and the rogue attachment is accessed. It is well worth taking a moment to examine the email to check that it is genuine. Our blog about dodgy tax emails gives some helpful pointers; you can read it here.
User training in cyber security will go a long way to protecting your systems. We have on-line training packages designed to raise awareness of security issues.
Please contact Computer Troubleshooters today.