On May 12, the largest cyber attack in history was spreading like wildfire across the globe.

The ransomware, known as WannaCry, infected computers via a link in an email encrypting files and spreading to other computers on the network. Once your files were encrypted, a ransom of $300 of bitcoin was demanded in order to decrypt your files. To date, I’m not sure of the reliability of paying a ransom to the criminals behind this attack and whether or not you’d actually get your files decrypted.

Fortunately for many, the day after WannaCry was unleashed, a security researcher stumbled upon a killer of the ransomware and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  But what about next time?  Surely the next attack will be sure to have fixed the issues that disabled WannaCry’s weapons.

So where do you go from here?  Here’s a few suggestions to help safeguard your systems from the next ransomware attack:

Learn from prior mistakes.

WannaCry was highly successful for a short period of time simply because so many desktop computers aren’t updated with the latest security patch.  In fact, most attacks take place because of unpatched exploits. Microsoft releases security fixes and updates weekly. If you’re not positive that all your systems are regularly updating, you might need a patch management solution.

Site Tech Services’ Managed Services includes around the clock patch management that schedules installation of the latest security updates and notifies our help desk of any systems that are unable to update for any reason.  Our systems offer reports on a per organization or per workstation basis that shows the patch compliance level.  So while most people were freaking out about WannaCry, our technicians and engineers had the confidence of knowing all of our clients’ systems were up-to-date and not vulnerable to the WannaCry ransomware.

Train your employees.

WannaCry, along with most other malware/ransomware, is brought into a system by clicking on a link in an email.   Train your employees to take an extra second or two to review an email before clicking on a link.  Are they expecting airline tickets? Are you even using DropBox?  These kinds of questions are likely to make someone think twice before blindly clicking on a link just because there’s one in the body of an email.  Teach them to hover over the link and see if the actual URL matches the one in text within the email.  I recently saw a fake FedEx email, but when you hovered the URL, it showed FidEx.com.  This link most likely would have downloaded some sort of malware to my system.  But what made me stop and think about hovering the URL is the fact that I hadn’t recently shipped a package via FedEx and our company account wouldn’t use my regular work email address anyways!

Stop thinking it won’t happen to you.

I’ve been in the I.T. field for over 20 years.  I’ve seen attacks happen to the largest and smallest of companies.  In fact, the smaller companies are the more likely target.  Criminals know that they’re less likely to have enterprise-grade security systems in place to prevent these types of attacks in the first place.  Site Tech Services can offer many options to help get your small, medium or large business up to speed on security.  For a free, one-on-one consultation to discuss your business security needs, please contact us online or call (813) 549-5700.