Protect Your Data in the Ransomware Era: Security Expert Shares How

Now, more than ever, it’s important to protect your data in the ransomware era, utilizing advice from a security expert. Last week, the WannaCry global ransomware attacks reportedly affected nearly 300,000 computers across more than 150 countries, and, according to Quartz, made medical care inaccessible in England, shut down factories in Japan, and ultimately may have created billions of dollars in losses. And the bad news may not be over yet – given that the Shadow Brokers have even more hacking tools, stolen from the US National Security Agency, available to unleash havoc on computers and systems everywhere, now is the time to really ensure your systems and computer-use policies are really locked down!


In response to this international cyber emergency, our Member Oli Thordarson, CEO of Alvaka Networks, added this important post to his blog to share with any employee who has access to a computer on your system:


Educate your users – Don’t let them be tricked into downloading ransomware/ malware

by Oli Thordarson, May 15, 2017


To protect your data in the ransomware era, everyone should follow this advice:

  1. Be very cautious when opening an attachment or clicking a link in an email, instant message, or post on social networks – even if you know the sender. If you are suspicious, call to ask the sender if they sent it. not, delete it.
  2. The attack can look like it is from an official source, like banks, UPS, FedEx, USPS, eFax, etc. This has been the most common attack method to date.
  3. If an e-mail gets blocked and quarantined by your spam filter, be very certain about the message and any attachments before you release it from quarantine. One user recently got burned this way.
  4. Avoid clicking Agree, OK, or I accept in banner ads in unexpected pop-up windows with warnings or offers to remove spyware or viruses, or on websites that may not seem legitimate. These are usually bogus. Call your IT specialist if you are concerned.
  5. Only download software from websites you trust. Be cautious of “free” offers of music, games, videos, and the like. They are notorious for including malware in the download. At your employer you should not be downloading anything unless you are specifically authorized to do so.
  6. If you have automatic updates to the cloud, consider turning this off so you don’t replicate the ransomware encryption to your cloud.
  7. Remember, you must usually click on something to make something happen. Be careful where and when you click.
  8. The moment you even suspect something is wrong, contact IT support immediately. Recently a user went home when his system did not work right and that allowed the ransomware to spread.