On Friday, May 12, 2017,  an explosion of WannaCry ransomware attacks was detected in over 150 countries. The WannaCry ransomware locked computers, encrypted files, and demanded users pay USD $300 in bitcoin to restore access to files before spreading throughout the network and infecting other vulnerable computers.

This global cyber-attack should serve as a wake-up call to organizations worldwide. The WannaCry attack has made an example of how vulnerable organizations' IT infrastructures are. With as many as 30,000 institutions impacted in China alone, the attack also shut down a large portion of the UK’s National Health Service and affected major organizations like Fedex, Telefonica, and the Russian Interior Ministry.

The global impact is significant. To help prevent a successful attack on your organization we have included several strategies and tips.

Conduct End-User Training

Like other ransom and malware, The WannaCry attack spread quickly through a series of phishing attacks. Training your end-users on how to identify phishing emails can minimize the likelihood of malware getting inside your network and spreading. 

 Remediate Vulnerabilities

The WannaCry malware took advantage of a vulnerability in Windows, for which a security update was issued in March 2017. The organizations that fell victim to the ransomware attack hadn’t applied this update. This highlights the importance of diligent patch management and recognizing vulnerabilities in your network and taking steps to remediate these vulnerabilities.

A Secure, Reliable Backup

This attack has caused some organizations and individuals to lose valuable data. Having a secure and reliable backup ensures that if an attack is successful, your data is still protected and available. To learn more about maintaining a secure and reliable backup click here

Best-In-Class Technology

Employing a best-in-class security platform is vital to avoiding successful cyber-attacks. The Palo Alto Next-Generation Security Platform effectively protected users from this attack due to its advanced software features like WildFire, ThreatPrevention, Traps, and GlobalProtect as well as its prevention-based approach. Users of other security platforms weren’t so lucky and many users fell victim to the attack. 

Put Your Security in The Hands of Experts 

Security is a specialized area of IT. Asking your on-site tech experts to complete both security tasks and maintain your firm’s IT infrastructure can be demanding and many important tasks may be placed on the backburner, putting your organization at risk of hackers. This recent attack has shown how ill-prepared many organizations are for a large-scale attack. True security is much more than a full-time job as it requires implementing and updating security policies as well as monitoring and mitigating risk factors. With the ever-evolving threat landscape IT staff must also stay on top of changing threats and new technologies. Hiring a managed service provider that specializes in security is the best approach to ensuring your clients' legal data is secure.