As WannaCry Ransomware – a computer virus, malicious piece of software that restricts access to user files on a computer and displays demands for ransom payments to unlock access or restore files – claimed over 200,000 victims in 150 countries over this weekend, authorities and cybersecurity professionals warn of a growing fallout in the next few days, as users were returning to their workstations this Monday.

hacker using laptop computer screen

WannaCry affected an exploit in the Windows XP operating system; the exploit fix was issued by Microsoft in the Critical Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 earlier in March this year, addressing this security flaw on the machines running the Windows operating system. Ironically, this exploited was allegedly used by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), and now hackers are taking advantage of it for themselves.  Microsoft has also released patch updates for their unsupported OS, Windows 2003, XP, Vista and Win 8. Users who do not have a Microsoft patch applied to their systems are still vulnerable to this particular threat.

How to protect your systems from WannaCry ransomware threat

  1. Run Windows Update to get the latest software updates and apply the latest Microsoft security patches for this particular flaw.
  2. Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date.
  3. Run an anti-virus scan on your computer.
  4. Set up regular, scheduled auto-scans of your systems for any malicious programs.
  5. Continuously back up your data.
  6. Ensure all outgoing and incoming emails are scanned for malicious attachments.
  7. Make sure your organization runs “penetration tests” against your network’s security at least once a year.
  8. Educate employees on identifying scams, malicious links, and emails that may contain viruses.
  9. Do not open questionable email or attachments.

Have you ever received an email that appeared suspicious or questioned where it came from?

Sometimes we get emails with obvious red flags, such as unknown sender or unusual errors. Sometimes we get urgent messages that may appear legitimate. Use common sense and vigilance to investigate further to see the validity of the email. Call or visit the organization’s website directly without clicking or downloading any links in the email to exercise caution. All it takes is just one suspicious email being opened, it takes just one click on a malicious link, or a download of an attachment to cause serious damage to your network infrastructure.

creenshot of the ransom note left on an infected system

Screenshot of the ransom note left on an infected system [source:Wikipedia]

If you believe you were hacked, here is what you should do right away:

  1. Cybersecurity professionals warn individuals and organizations NOT TO PAY BITCOIN RANSOM, as there is no evidence suggesting WannaCry hackers release the locked data.
  2. Contact law enforcement with as much detail as possible. There’s no way to prevent criminals from running these types of scams. Law enforcement, consumer rights groups, and professional IT consultants are recommending to file an incident report with the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker and FBI’s IC3 Internet Complaint Center to help authorities investigate and battle these types of scam.
  3. Restore your data from a most recent backup: contact your IT support services company right away.

powersolution.com, an IT company in New Jersey utilizes and deploys numerous methods to prevent all kinds of attacks to your IT infrastructure. A strong IT company in conjunction with educating all employees, these incidents can be prevented further, protecting your business. 

Does your SMB require expert IT Security, Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Services in New Jersey?

Call us 201-493-1414 to talk to our IT consultants or Request a Consultation today. Let’s start a conversation to make sure your devices are safe, your network is protected, and business continuity is secured.

 

 

Intelligent Business Continuity services from our NJ IT Security Consulting, IT Services, and Computer Network Support company for Small Business include all assets of Managed Services.

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