Ransomware Attacks: 4 Cyber Security Tips on How to Protect Yourself

Cyber Security
Keep your software up to date by configuring your machine to automatically install updates

On May 12, we experienced the biggest ever global cyber-attack when a ransomware named WannaCry wormed its way into 200,000 machines in 150 countries, locking up people’s data and threatening to destroy it unless they paid ransom.

Ransomware is usually contained within emails and web pop ups. Once the attachment or pop up is opened, it encrypts the harddrive and makes it impossible for a user to access or retrieve any files stored on there.

Big corporations, individuals and governments alike all fell victim to the ransomware. Experts estimate that the latest attacks extorted more than R650, 000 from individuals and organisations.

According to a 2015 Herjavec Group report, the overall annual cost of global cybercrime is expected to reach R80 trillion by year 2021.

Cyber security experts have warned that another large-scale attack may be on its way. Want to protect yourself or your business? Here are a few cyber security tips on how to avoid falling victim to ransomware.

1.Avoid suspicious emails

Do not open suspicious pop ups and attachments to emails if you do not recognise the source. Use a reputable email scanner to strip all attachments and put them in a virus vault and you can restore the files from the vault if needs be.

2.Back up your data

Create multiple backups for your data to remain safe in case of an attack. Include offsite backups because some ransomware can encrypt most local files, files shared on the network and local backups. Make sure you disable services that use shadow copies.

3.Keep your software up-to-date

The first step to take in protecting yourself against infection is to run a Microsoft Windows update on your system. Ensure that your machine is up to scratch with the latest security enhancements all the time by configuring it to automatically install updates.

4.Install antivirus software

Put in place an up to date anti-virus programme as this may can stop the malware from being downloaded. You should also perform a full scan to locate any malware that may have already been downloaded into your computer.

Big companies and institutions may also consider running cyber security training programs to equip employees with the necessary skills for avoiding potential risk so as to maintain a strong cyber security environment inside their organisations.

At Out of the Box Ideas we develop our systems with security in mind. This ensures that our clients are protected from cyber-attacks which may compromise their data, trade secrets and intellectual property. In the recent past, we had one of our financial services solutions audited by a cyber security company. The company only found a few minor code issues and a few IIS configuration issues, which were rectified.

On the one hand, the audit has given our client and ourselves peace of mind that our solutions are well architected and created with cyber-attacks in mind. Additionally, the knowledge gained is assisting with new projects going forward.


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