WannaCry Ransomware Attack
Ransomware is the word on everyone’s lips this week, following the massive WannaCry ransomware attack which spread quickly all over the world. Security experts estimate that over 200 000 systems across 150 countries were affected by the attack, in which hackers took advantage of a weakness in Microsoft’s Windows operating system to block any access to a computer system until a ‘ransom’ is paid in order to unlock the system again.
Investigations into the massive hack are still unfolding, but current thinking is that the attack originated in North Korea and made use of a set of top secret National Security Agency tools that were stolen and sold last year.
The repercussions of such a huge ransomware attack are a major issue for security providers and are likely to bring renewed scrutiny to the sector. Systems will be tightened, but over time it’s inevitable that consumers lose their security focus and get lazy with protecting their data.
It’s in our best interest as online security providers to keep security top of mind for their customers and encourage our users to take basic steps to secure their data. Chris Medeiros, CEO of CanadianCloudBackup notes that “the world got lucky with the WannaCry ransomware. A researcher was able to find the kill switch before it did more damage. Nevertheless, it just shows that we need to educate consumers to be far more vigilant about securing their data.”
Encouraging consumers to take care of the basics helps to take a lot of pressure off online security services. If you’re running a white label security service, encourage your customers to begin with 4 SIMPLE SECURITY STEPS.
Refresh passwords: Despite the old-fashioned nature of passwords, they are still the first line of defence for your data. Make sure that you regularly update your passwords, choose passwords that are not too obviously associated with you (e.g your birthday and maiden name) and write them down
Make use of encryption: Encryption of data should be standard practice in today’s online environment: Scrambling your data is an incredibly effective way of protecting it. By some accounts, encrypted data is harder to access than data which has been deleted. Whatsapp runs strong encryption software on their messaging service, Signal is a popular app for securing text messages, and you can choose to add the encryption option on Facebook Messenger.
Enable Two-factor authentication: When you turn this on, then you add a vital layer of security to one of your most important and vulnerable access points: your email account. Whenever someone tries to sign in to your email account from a new device, a message gets delivered to a secondary device with a code that grants access to account.
Install HTTPS to your Browser: The Electronic Frontier Foundation developed a plug-in that ensures you are always accessing the most secure form of a website when you’re online, and are protected from surveillance and any form of hacking.
These simple steps can go a long way towards dramatically improving an individual’s security profile and guarding against most hacking that appears online.
Canadian CloudBackup data centres are the perfect base from which to offer clients secure server and home cloud backup, as well as disaster recovery options. By leveraging the power of the Acronis AnyData Engine delivers a complete and reliable service that backs up data from any source and recovers to any destination and system.
Almost a week after the ransomware attack first surfaced, it appears to have been largely contained, thanks to a few mistakes that the hackers made, according to Wired Magazine. Yet there is no doubt that your data is more valuable than ever, and that there are more and more criminals out to get it. Simple, clear-headed thinking is the best defensive weapon that you have to contain any threats and protect your data.
Backup and Infosec series provided courtesy of Canadian CloudBackup
By Jeremy Daniel
Jeremy Daniel is an author, online marketing strategist and a firm believer in the transformative power of mobile technology for emerging markets. Jeremy has written across various media platforms since 2001, from television to advertising to print, and spends most of his time in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa.