WannaCry Virus: Will it make you want to cry?

05.18.2017

The WannaCry virus is the latest security threat to sweep the world. The WannaCry virus is a ransomware virus. A ransomware virus is designed to infiltrate your operating system and hold your files hostage. The virus will not release your files unless you pay the attacker a fee. This fee can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars per file. Yes, that’s right, most modern ransomware viruses will now charge you per file.

How many files do you have on your computer? The average personal computer can have anywhere from 80,000 to 300,000. The average business machine can range anywhere from 150,000 to over one million files. Ransomware viruses are a lucrative business for attackers due to the potential high reward.

How do these viruses get through your security? Often times these viruses come in the form of an email attachment or infected hyperlink. These attachments and links download to your computer, bypassing a typical anti-virus program. It is also easy to bypass your typical anti-virus software if it is not up to date. Those pop-ups you get seemingly everyday from your anti-virus? Although a nuisance at times, these are critical to read and follow to keep your defense up.

The WannaCry virus follows this protocol. It is coming in via an email attachment. We all know that we should never open an email attachment from someone we don’t know, so why are people downloading this attachment? Cyber attackers have become more sophisticated in their delivery. They have found ways to mimic your email provider’s branding and imaging so the email appears to be real. Attackers can also create fake or dummy accounts to send the infected emails from.

So… what can you do?

  1. Never Open an Email or Attachment from Unknown or Suspicious Sources
    If you receive an email that looks slightly off or makes you think twice, don’t open it. Anyone who is emailing you is someone you could potentially reach over the phone or in a separate email. Think twice before opening something.
  2. Hosted Exchange
    Datasmith offers a service called “hosted exchange.” What is hosted exchange? Hosted Exchange allows Datasmith to make a Microsoft e-mail box and space available on a server so its clients can host their email data on the server. We manage the hosted data of its clients on the server. This adds a strong level of security between you and attackers. Since Datasmith is an IT company, we live and breathe IT and security. We also have a team of engineers dedicated to keeping servers safe and secure.
  3. Back-up, Back-up, and Back-up
    What’s the best way to avoid paying ransomware fees? Have a back-up of your data and files. When we say back-up, we don’t mean an external hard drive with a copy of your most important business files. We mean a complete carbon copy of your business stored safely in a remote location. How do you do this? Utilize one of the many back-up and recovery services. Datasmith strongly recommends using Axcient. We partnered with Axcient several years ago. Axcient operates silently in the background. It creates a carbon copy back up of your business every day – so if disaster strikes, Datasmith can get your company up and running in minutes. Axcient is the difference between a ransomware virus shutting down your business and keeping your doors open.

As technology continues to evolve, so will the threats against your company. Datasmith strongly recommends business owners evaluate their current security now before it’s too late. A ransomware virus doesn’t have to mean weeks of downtime or thousands of dollars lost. With the right security in place, a ransomware virus, or other cyber attack, is just a tiny blip on the radar. Contact us to start your security evaluation now.

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