Last week Canada and the world were astounded in the biggest cyber attack in history. On May 12, Ransomware, malicious software that holds access to files at ransom until a sum of money is paid, spread through Britain’s National Health Service database, freezing computers in hospitals across the country. Soon, there were reports of other Ransomware attacks through Europe and by Sunday over 150 countries were hit. The reason why the malicious software was able to spread so quickly was due to a vulnerability in older versions of Microsoft’s Windows. Businesses and some government departments across Europe and parts of China have been shuttered for days, as the investigation continues and they work with technicians to get their systems up and running.
These types of cyber threats are a new breed of virus. They spread through a link sent by email, copying your contacts to make it look like the email is from someone you know. Once the link is clicked, the malware is downloaded and files become inaccessible, as the perpetrators demand hundred of thousands of dollars to unlock the contents of the computer. In between the years of 2015 and 2016 ransomware attacks have doubled in frequency. Here’s what you can do to make sure you’re protected:
Update your software
It was a lack of software updates that caused this Ransomware to spread so quickly, so it is essential that you keep your computer up to date. Yes, the pesky notifications can be annoying, but they are important to the security of your files. They include important features that often patch-up security holes.
Install Protective Virus Software
Anti-virus software can be costly, but it is an investment that is important to fighting off cyberattacks. In fact, Lakeridge Health, a hospital in Oshawa, was able to fend off the recent ransomware attack because their anti-virus software was able to catch it and warned them about opening the email.
Some programs like Bitdefender GravityZone, and Kaspersky Endpoint Security are excellent choices to protect your small business from cyber attacks.
Protecting yourself against the rising risk of Ransomware is a growing concern for many small businesses. But if you install protective virus software and update your computer regularly you should be able to ward off any cyber threats.
Jennifer D’Agostino | The Edge Blog