28 Jun 2017

Wannacry, Ransomware, etc.

Above is a screenshot from the news on June 28th, 2017.  It is a common headline lately.  Although ransomware is devious and disruptive to business, there are some things you can do as the business owner to help reduce your risk of infection.  Here is a punchlist you can take action on right now.

  • BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!  Even the best defenses can sometimes be breached so restoring from backup is your best bet.  Make sure you have a bulletproof backup system in place that is tested, monitored and designed to defeat ransomware attacks.

  • Business Class anti-virus software (not the free versions) is also highly recommended.  Business class software has additional protection features you will not find in free software.  Usually there is also a central monitoring console included so you can actually see the protection is enabled company wide and is up to date.

  • Business Class firewall (not the $49 home class units) is a must.  A business class firewall has features such as content control, intrusion protection, anti-virus and a host of other protection features you won’t find in a home class firewall.  These features help block threats before they ever have a chance to enter your network.

  • Get rid of the old machines.  Old operating systems such as Windows 98, XP and Vista should be removed from your network and replaced.  There are security holes in old operating systems that cannot be fixed.  They are virus magnets and nearly impossible to protect from attacks.

  • Patch your machines.  Microsoft and other vendors routinely make security patches, service packs, etc. available.  Many times these are to close known vulnerabilities so installing them promptly is important.  Ironically, the huge Wannacry virus outbreak that happened recently was an exploit of a known security hole that Microsoft patched over six months earlier.  If everyone was on a managed patch schedule then they would never have been infected.

  • Email filtering.  Anti-virus software does a decent job at screening attachments and links but more advanced filters like Advanced Threat Protection for Office 365 can take that filtering to a whole new level.

  • User education.  It is amazing how even the best firewalls, best anti-virus and best filtering can still be defeated by users.  It is rarely on purpose but users can always seem to find creative ways to circumvent the protection you put in place.  Train your staff on what is allowed behavior for internet browsing, how to recognize phishing emails, etc.  The more informed your staff is about threats then the less likely they are to succomb to them.

If you need assistance in any of these areas please feel free to contact us.  We provide a managed solution for your business so these tasks are not left unchecked.  You may contact us here for more information.

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