Microsoft released a security update in March to confront the latest WannaCry attack, but many businesses haven’t gotten around to patch their systems. Are You One Of Them? It doesn’t matter how large your business is—small businesses have been a growing target for hackers.

The unprecedented world-wide reaching WannaCry attack shocked security experts around the world late last week when the WannaCry malware started attacking computers and crawling networks, leading to over 200,000 systems infected—infecting large and small businesses alike (and the numbers are growing as the malware is yet uncontrolled!).

While recent malware attacks—varieties of CryptoLocker and CryptoWall wreaked similar havoc in recent years, WannaCry is by far the most severe attack of 2017 and the spread of infection is far from over. In this post, I want to clue you in on what we’ve been monitoring for the past few days and give you some concrete actions to protect your business from infection (from WannaCry and other attacks).

But First, What is WannaCry?

WannaCry is ransomware, like CryptoWall or CryptoLocker, takes hostage of your computer’s files and demands that a victim pay a ransom to regain access of those files. What makes WannaCry different than other Crypto-crud is that it doesn’t just infect one machine—it will crawl your network and infect ALL vulnerable computers on it!

Cybersecurity experts have warned that WannaCry affects computers using Microsoft operating systems and takes advantage of security vulnerabilities in the software (software that had not been updated) to spread infection. WannaCry is particularly dangerous because it just takes one click on a link or email to cause spread of the virus to your entire network!

If Infected, You Have Few Options (And Little Time To Act!)

Your Infected computer will freeze and display a big message: “Oops, your files have been encrypted!” and will demand bitcoin payment of $300, which then increases to $600 before your files are toast.

And the virus leaves a friendly reminder to pay the decryption service charge after the damage has been done:

wannacry-malware

How Can You Protect Your Business?

Patch Your Network—The majority of viruses (past and present) have found vulnerabilities in business networks because they were not up-to-date with the latest security patches. Your business should manage patch updates regularly from Microsoft, especially if you are using older versions of operating systems, such as Windows XP. Microsoft DID release a patch two month ago for more recent systems, but many businesses have neglected to download it, either because their IT solution does not have the bandwidth or capacity to securely maintain your network 24/7/365. Here is a recent discussion from Inc Magazine on why your IT guy might not be doing his or her job.

But if you need to go in and manually patch your computers, check out Microsoft’s instructions here. Dynamic Edge’s mission is to prevent time bombs for small businesses and one way of avoiding hacks is to routinely apply security updates and patches (we have a process for this, does your IT support?).

Backup Your Data—Another big problem riddling businesses large and small is a lack of backup. If you don’t have backups of EVERYTHING on your network—configuration files, drivers, your business and customer data and work files—you will be paddling up the creek without a paddle! In the event of a disaster—ransomware, virus or other disastrous event that leaves access to your network completely impenetrable, without a backup, you might be saying “Sayonara” to your network, leaving your business months to years behind and your clients trying to find alternatives that they can trust more! Dynamic Edge customers’ networks are backed up daily (and so should yours!).

Testing your backups—while many IT support companies say they back up your data, over 70% never test the backups they take. If you were in the market for a new car, would you ever buy from a company that never tested it? No! If your IT support isn’t testing your backup to see that the files are actually functional and all present, there’s something seriously wrong. Dynamic Edge routinely tests backups as part of our backup process.

Is There Anything To Do To Fix Your Infected Computer?

Unfortunately, there is no immediate fix for the WannaCry malware. While antivirus and cybersecurity firms are working round-the-clock for ways to decrypt infected computers, there is nothing available right not to counter this virus. If you have proper backups of your data, you will be able to restore from backup, otherwise, you may be at the mercy of criminals!

Is Your Business’ Network Patched? Are ALL Updates Maintained? Or Are You A Sitting Duck To Ransomware, Compliance Issues And Lost Business? If you’re worried about this attack or how to prevent future malware attacks that could cripple your business, please contact me TODAY!