wannacry ransomware prevention

3 Critical Steps You MUST Take To Avoid WannaCry And Ransomware Like It

Last month the world was hit by one of the largest cyber security attacks in history- affecting more than 200,000 organizations in 150 countries. WannaCry ransomware, the perpetrator of this attack, took advantage of outdated patches and software licenses. Infected computers and business owners risked losing critical data if they didn’t pay the ransom.

ransomware lock screen

As cyber security & prevention experts, we are happy to report that not a single client of Andromeda Technology Solutions was affected by this attack because of our security protocols and procedures. The same can’t be said for Cook County.

Industry experts predict that this ransomware attack will hit again. Tech experts remain unsure how the new approach might be deployed – in a similar fashion or with a new “2.0” virus. While the specifics of future cyber security attacks are uncertain, we know some things for sure. Proper protocol is CRITICAL for data security and the safety of your business.

Ransomware: The Numbers **

  • Almost 50% of Small Businesses have experienced some form of cyber attack
  • MORE than 70% of attacks target Small Business
  • As many as 60% of small businesses that experience a data breach go out of business within 6 months.

These numbers are scary. Cyber security demands the attention of business owners globally and the efforts of hackers/cyber criminals are only increasing. These criminals want your money and they don’t care about the damage left behind.

That being said, there is hope and there are measures you can take to prevent your business from becoming a victim of ransomware.

3 Security Protocols You MUST Implement Immediately For The Safety Of Your Data, Your Business AND Your Wallet . . .

  1. Update ALL Microsoft Licenses to Windows 7 At A Minimum & Maintain Up To Date Security Patching – Cyber criminals are no dummies. WannaCry and other viruses like it take advantage of out of date licenses. Too often, business owners sacrifice the security of their network because they don’t want to go through the grief of updating to the latest Microsoft License. Andromeda recommends updating ALL PC’s to Windows 7 at a minimum and, more importantly, make sure you perform regular patch and security updates.
  2. Test & Verify ALL Data Backups – When is the last time you tested and verified your backups? Are you backing up your data at all? How long would it take your current IT provider to get you back up in running in the event of a disaster (virtualization time)? It is a FACT . . . you will be hit by some form of ransomware, malware or virus. The real question becomes, do you have the protocols in place to defend and beat the attack? One of the most important things you can do to safeguard yourself is perform regular backups. (We recommend daily at a minimum). A cybercriminal can’t hold your data hostage if you follow this simple practice. AND – don’t accept a verbal confirmation your data continuously remains backed up as proof. Your IT partner should provide you regular, real time, proof that your data is backed up securely and that it can be visualized in an agreed upon length of time. If your IT provider can’t give these stats and proofs to you, time to find a new partner.
  3. ransomware phishing emailEducate Your Team On How These Attacks Work And Where They Come From – Every office has that one employee that will click on ANYTHING (hopefully it isn’t you). Continued education is one of the first lines of defense against these attacks. Employees should know:
    1. What to look out for
    2. What phishing scams look like
    3. What to do when they suspect an email or link is suspect
    4. NEVER to check personal email at work
    5. Etc.

Proper spam filters set by your IT group should prevent the majority of these emails from getting to your inbox. However, it only takes ONE CLICK and an entire network is infected before you know what happened.

Ransomware Prevention constantly changing, be sure to stay on top of newest trends

When all is said and done, cyber security is an everyday battle. Hackers and criminals will keep attacking until you don’t have something they want. These 3 Security protocols are only the tip of the iceberg and should be part of a multiphase approach implemented by your internal staff and your IT partner. If you have any questions, please reach out to a representative at Andromeda today.

If you’ve found this article on ransomware prevention interesting, you might also want to consider attending our upcoming Executive Lunch & Learn Seminar.

**Statistics sourced from the National Cyber Security Alliance

public wifi is dangerous for data security

Don’t Use Public WiFi Without Reading These Data Security Quick Tips

We are all guilty of it: connecting to free public WiFi. Whether it is at the coffee shop, hotel or airport, the temptation to check e-mail and surf the web is just too strong to resist. As with anything technology related, free networks pose a number of risks to your data security. Here are a few tips to help you keep your information safe.

Data Security Quick Tips for When Using Public Wifi

Confirm The Network Is Legit –

It is common for hackers to set up fake clones of public WiFi access points. The hacker sets up the clone to get you to connect to THEIR WiFi over the legitimate one made available to you by your neighborhood coffee shop or restaurant. Connecting to a hacker’s access point can expose critical data and passwords. To avoid jumping on an unsafe network, verify the name of the WiFi your location is providing.

Enable A Firewall On Your Devices Or Use a VPN

A dependable firewall will help protect your sensitive data. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts traffic between your device and the VPN server, which makes it much more difficult for an intruder or hacker to access your sensitive data and improves your data security. You can try to set up your own VPN for personal devices but we suggest professional support for any of your work devices.

Turn Off File Sharing & Keep Devices from Automatically Joining Networks

Sure, file sharing is a great way to collaborate and send photos or other documents simply and quickly with friends, but leaving this function on only leaves you vulnerable to intrusion. As an extra data security measure, make sure you turn this feature off whenever you aren’t at home. In addition, cellphones can be set up to automatically join networks with free WiFi. Does this help you save on data? Sure! But it also sets you up to fall victim to scammers. Make sure you never allow your device to join a network without getting your permission first.

Don’t Access Financial Sites Or Make Purchases

NEVER access financial, medical or other sensitive data while on public WiFi. Also, don’t shop online and enter your credit card information unless you’re absolutely certain the connection point you’re on is safe and secure. This is simply asking for trouble and breaks the data security’s number one rule.

There are many ways for you to protect your data and secure your devices from hackers and those that wish to do you harm. The surest way to protect yourself is a trusted IT partner who can ensure your devices have proper protocols in place. If you are concerned about your own devices or those of your employees, give us a call. We are always available to help.