Image Courtesy: blog.kaspersky.com
200,000 victims across 150 countries were left grappling with the aftermaths of yet another Ransomware cyber attack which has been described as “unprecedented in its scale” by Europol Chief Ron Wainwright in an interview to BBC News.
Payments were demanded from users using Bitcoin, to access user’s files that were affected by the virus. The infection that was spreading across networks faster than it could be controlled is not the first of its kind and if experts are to be believed, it certainly wasn’t the last.
The virus found its way through an exploit in the Windows XP operating systems, and even though a temporary patch did slow down its ill effects, it was a little too late. In fact, UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has warned of many more such attacks to come.
A screen for the ransomware attack
Could this have been avoided? Many argue that yes, such Ransomware attacks can be avoided, and there are those who would advocate that they did all they could. The obvious question that follows is what your plan of action should be to safeguard your interests and assets.
Patch Your System
Even though Microsoft had already issued a software patch to combat the WannaCry Ransomware attack in March, systems that had not applied this software patch were the affected the worst.
It is important that whenever a software patch is sent for your systems it is applied and run immediately. It ensures that your system is safe and protected, preventing cyber criminals from attacking your system or at least reduces the vulnerabilities that are susceptible to the system.
Most companies have a patch management process in place, whose responsibility is to run software patches and upgrades as frequently as on a monthly basis.
Update Your Anti-Virus System
Though patching your system is the backbone of cyber security protocols, having an anti-virus system is its skin. Ensuring that you have a tough-skinned anti-virus system that fights off early signs of system vulnerabilities is another practice that will further your cyber security protocol.
Anti-virus systems allow not just organizations, but even individuals to safeguard their hardware as well as software, especially when using shared network spaces. Such software also scans your computer files and highlights malicious software and asks you to clean your files.
Anti-virus systems also prompt users and issue warnings, and act as a hygiene check for systems they are implemented on.
Back-Up Your Data
Large-scale organizations have a system back-up implemented that regularly stores all of their data. As regards individual systems or personal systems are concerned, you should conduct a data back-up as well. This will help prevent data loss as well as make your data safe in case it is held for ransom.
Though hardware and software providers and manufacturers endeavor to keep the systems businesses and individuals use safe, we can all contribute to the safety by practicing some safe practices. Watch this BBC video to learn more on cyber safety.