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WannaCry Ransomware attack

On Friday 12th May 2017 a new strain of ransomware called WannaCry globally targetted Windows Computers in at least 70 countries, causing major disruption to large organisations such as the UK's NHS.

Once infected WannaCry encrypts data files and ask users to pay a $300(US)+ ransom in Bitcoins. A ransom note indicates that the payment amount will be double after 3 days. If payment is not made after 7 days, the encrypted files will be deleted.

Best Practice for users to stay protected against ransomware

Staying secure against ransomware isn’t just about having the latest security solution. Good IT Practises, including regular training for employees is essential. Make sure that you follow these best practises:

1. Create unique, hard to guess passwords and change them frequently

Your password is the first line of defence against hackers. Make sure you follow these rules to create a strong password:

• At least 10 characters’ long

• Include the following character types: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

• No single words in any language, slang or dialect

• Are not based on personal information, names of family, etc.

Don’t share your passwords and avoid writing them down.

Password protect all devices including mobile phones.

Don’t use the same password for everything.

Regularly change passwords every 30 - 60 days.

2. Be cautious about unsolicited emails and attachments.

Emails are one of the main infections methods. Be wary of unexpected emails especially if they contain links and/or attachments. Don’t enable macros in documents attachments received via email. Microsoft deliberately turned off the auto-execution of macros and made it default many years ago as a security measure.  Only open emails and attachments from trustworthy, known sources. Always best to contact the sender via phone call if unsure. Stay up-to date with Microsoft Office versions and patches.

3. Secure computers and mobile devices at all times. 

Shutdown, lock, or log off your computer before leaving them unattended. Make sure password is required on start-up or wake-up. Don’t leave computers or mobile devices on view in a car. Lock them away in a secure place out of sight. Be selective when printing sensitive information. Don’t leave it lying around for anyone to find and shred for disposal if necessary.

4. Malicious websites

Another common way to get infected is by visiting legitimate websites that have been infected with exploits. Even popular, mainstream websites can be temporarily compromised. Don’t download and install unknown programs or apps to your computer, phone or other devices.

5. Reporting computer security incidents as soon as they occur

Report any suspected compromise (hacking, unauthorised access, etc.) of computer systems or data to GHS immediately via telephone on 01793 528549.


GHS Advice

• Backing up important data is the single most effective way of combating ransomware infection.

Attackers have leverage over their victims by encrypting valuable files and leaving them inaccessible. GHS regularly monitor maintenance customers backups to ensure we can successful restore files in the event of fire, flood, theft or ransomware. Please ensure that back-ups are appropriately protected or stored off-line so that attackers can’t delete them.

• Bitdefender GravitZone Security for Endpoints customers are actively safe from the WannaCry.

Bitdefender has consistently been ranked the #1 security software by independent reviewers such as AV Test and AV Comparatives and it does not compromise protection for performance.
Click on the link below to find out more about Bitdefender GravityZone: Stopping web threats

Statement from Bitdefender “Bitdefender's advanced detection technologies have blocked WannaCry from the very beginning.
All Bitdefender users have been safe all along!”

• Keeping your Windows operating systems up-to date.

Important critical updates and security patches should be implemented as soon as possible.

• GFI Email Protection customers have an effective line of defence against spam and email-borne malware threats thanks to its unique combination of anti-malware engines, which helps ensure your business has secure email at the ready.

 • GHS can conduct a security assessment of the control network (i.e. a security audit, penetration testing, gap analysis) to identify and remove any security loopholes.

• Review external vendor and 3rd party security policies in case they have direct access to the network.

• Encrypt your backup and you won’t have to worry about the backup device falling into the wrong hands.

• Enabling File Extension blocking

• Default to opening JavaScripts (.JS) files in NotePad

• Disabling Local administrator rights where not needed

For more information on staying protected against Ransomware please get in touch.



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