Hacker attacks – think you’re safe? Think again!

Chief Miranda Bailey and her IT guy: Grey’s Anatomy

Ransomware at Grey Sloan Memorial: Grey’s Anatomy

Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year?

As 2018 dawns, the time when GDPR comes into force gets ever closer.  You do know what GDPR is, of course. The General Data Protection Regulation will come into force across Europe on 25th May 2018, bringing with it stricter requirements for how personal information is handled.  You can learn more about it in our recent blog.

From the IT viewpoint, the primary concern is keeping client data safe.  We’ve just had a stark reminder of the fines that can be levied by the ICO in the case of data breaches with the announcement of the £400,000 penalty imposed on Carphone Warehouse – you can read more here.  Of course Carphone Warehouse are lucky that the GDPR-level fines were not imposed:  The maximum fines will rise to 4% of worldwide annual turnover, or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater.  

GDPR is not the only reason for keeping your systems safe.  Ransomware attacks are often in the news, and it is easy assume that only high-profile companies are vulnerable; in fact small businesses are just as likely to become victims to hackers.  The impact of losing access to all your company’s information can be devastating.  Just consider the number of transactions you make every day which depend upon being able to get hold of data held on your computer.

Until you realise the true scale of the disruption a cyber-attack could cause, it is easy to be complacent and give computer security a low priority on your to-do list.  This is why it sometimes takes a TV drama to hammer the message home.

In a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy (Series 14 episode 8 “Out of Nowhere” in case you are interested in looking it up), Grey Sloane Memorial Hospital is brought to its knees by a hacker attack The hospital is truly technology-dependent, with patient records being accessed via iPads and diagnostic equipment being linked to the network.  The hapless IT guy has to explain that security measures have been scheduled to be implemented but were not in place, and the data is locked by a hacker demanding a ransom payment in bitcoins.

Unlike the hacker attack in The Good Wife, which we described in our blog The Good Wife attacked by Ransomware, Chief Miranda Bailey and her team valiantly try to struggle on, reverting to paper and pen and trying to track down staff to find out which drugs had been prescribed with tragic consequences.  She finally decides that she must pay the criminals. 

The outcome – we don’t know yet, as this is where the producers ended the episode in their best cliff-hanger style!

The lesson learnt – it is much less stressful and cost-effective to make sure that your data is secure.  This requires strong passwords and antivirus protection, and secure backups to allow you to restore your data if the worst should happen.  Keeping client data under lock and key will also help you to become GDPR-compliant.

If you are worried that your business is vulnerable, it’s time to arrange a system review with Computer Troubleshooters.  Give us a call today on 01732 300064.

As they used to say on Hill Street Blues: Let’s be careful out there!