Global Ransomware Attack: Basic Security Measures Every Business Should Adopt
Last week brought news of a massive global cyberattack based on hacking tools purportedly obtained from the NSA and published last month by a group calling themselves the Shadow Brokers. The WannaCrypt (also known as WannaCry) ransomware attack compromised hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, including those of Britain’s National Health Service, FedEx, Chinese universities and Russia’s Interior Ministry – demonstrating that even the nations most frequently associated with launching cyberattacks are not immune from finding themselves on the receiving end. The New York Times reported that the UK health service “ignored numerous warnings over the last year that many of its computer systems were outdated and unprotected from the type of devastating cyberattack it suffered.”
New cases were found in several Asian nations over the weekend, and the U.S. braced for further spreading of the attack this week. Microsoft took the highly unusual step of releasing a patch for its outdated and no longer supported Windows XP operating system, as well as for more current systems.
As the New York Times has reported, it no longer requires any significant hacking skills to generate cyberattacks, which therefore can be expected to increase in frequency.
Tannenbaum Helpern’s Cybersecurity practice urges all organizations to take the following basic steps:
- Make sure your software and operating systems are current, supported versions.
- Keep all your software up to date, applying all recommended patches immediately. Use automatic updating features where available.
- Ensure that all workstations have current antivirus and antispyware installed, configured and up to date.
- Segment your network, limiting access to each segment on a need-to-use basis to minimize the spreading of malware.
- Back up frequently, retaining snapshots and isolating them from the network, to allow rapid recovery if systems are compromised.
- Train your personnel to recognize phishing attacks and never to open attachments or click on links that they were not expecting to receive, even if from known and trusted senders. Verify with the sender that they were legitimate and intended to be sent.
- Report any outbreaks of malware, particularly of the WannaCrypt malware, to the FBI (which also may be able to assist if you are compromised), via its Internet Crime Complaint Center at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
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Cyber & Privacy Alert is a newsletter by Tannenbaum Helpern’s Cybersecurity & Data Privacy practice that covers emerging legal and business developments affecting cyber and privacy risks and regulation, and their impact on businesses.