Blog post

Petya & WannaCry Cyber Attacks: How to protect yourself from ransomware

In the wake of the most recent ransomware attacks across the globe, many major businesses have been affected, taking out servers at Russia’s biggest oil company, disrupting operations at Ukrainian banks and shutting down computers at multinational shipping and advertising firms.

In the past month, two global-scale attacks have been executed: Petya and WannaCry.

What they have in common is that businesses are being held hostage through encrypting their files in exchange for a large sum to be sent through in Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

A screenshot of a WannaCry ransomware attack on Windows 8 is shown below.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Business:

Here are some ways to protect yourself from ransomware.

Back up your files

The greatest damage people suffer from a ransomware attack is the loss of files, including pictures and documents.

The best protection against ransomware is to back up all of the information and files on your devices in a completely separate system. A good place to do this is on an external hard drive that isn’t connected to the internet. This means that if you suffer an attack you won’t lose any information to the hackers.

Be suspicious of emails, websites and apps

The most common way for the software to be installed on to computers and your business network is through phishing emails, malicious ads on websites, and questionable apps and programs.

For ransomware to actually breach into your system, the hackers/scammers require you physically download their malicious software onto the computer, where it spreads and launches the attack by encrypting files.

It’s important to be cautious with any email or app you don’t trust. Never download an app that hasn’t been verified by an official store, and read reviews before installing programs.

Use an antivirus program

A tip that will never go out of fashion. Antivirus programs can stop ransomware from being downloaded onto computers and can find it when it is.

Most antivirus programs can scan files to see if they might contain ransomware before downloading them. They block installations from malicious adverts when you’re browsing the web, and look for malware that may already be installed on a computer.

Always install updates

Companies often release software updates to fix vulnerabilities that can be exploited to install ransomware. It is therefore advisable to always download the newest version of a software as soon as it is available.

What happens if you are affected?

Victims of ransomware attacks are advised to never pay the fee as it encourages attackers and may not result in files being recovered. There are some programs that can help decrypt files. Or, if you have a back up, you can restore your device from that.