In a world that heavily relies on technology, a virus is all you need to cripple everything. Well, it happened, the “Wanna Cry” ransomware/virus spread like wildfire and took down about 300,000 computers all over the globe. In turn, the victims had only two options to choose from: pay $200 (or more) to get their computers off the hook or start again from scratch.
You’ve probably heard the news. However, most of you might not have a single detail about how severe it was or exactly what it was. For the average Joe, who’s not a victim, you might assume you don’t care, but for someone who uses computers for their business – not caring could have equated to sinking your ship.
What Is Wanna Cry?
Wanna Cry also being named: Wanna Crypt, Wanna Decryptor is no more than ransomware. It is malicious software that latches on your system and then locking down all your data unless you pay a “ransom”. What makes it even worse is that once you’ve sent the payment, it doesn’t guarantee you’re going to get your data back.
For huge companies with cutting edge security systems, this type of malware can be detected early on and be avoided. However, small businesses are extremely prone to it. Paying $200 to $600 (highest recorded during the attack) just to retrieve control back without any assurance can be devastating. Additionally, if it so happens that after paying you still lose your data, you’ll need IT experts to help you recover the files or, at least, lessen the damage.
How Do You Prevent These Kinds of Cyber Attack?
Now that you know how frightening it would be to experience such an incident, it would be in your best interest to implement a few practices that can improve your overall security. By doing so, you can prevent these kinds of attacks and avoid unnecessary expenses.
Keep Your System Updated
Just because you’re busy handling your business doesn’t mean you’re excused from updating your computers. One of the best, and probably the easiest ways to stay on top of your system security, is to keep your operating system updated at all times and it takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Although the victims of Wanna Cry are only computers that use Windows as their operating system (all older systems except for Windows 10), it doesn’t mean Mac or Linux-based systems are assured to be safe. No one can predict the future, and hackers are always on the move developing the next tool that could render your business offline.
As they say, it’s better safe than sorry. That is why updating your operating system is always good practice. Newer patches always improve the security feature of the system and resolve all other issues – eliminating the chances of being a victim of the previous version as soon as possible.
For Windows users, your system is programmed to update automatically, but just in case you’ve accidentally changed that, you can read this guide.
Always Practice Backing Up Data
No matter what, always have time to backup your files as often as possible. Either you avail a cloud service and get everything important up there, or buy an external hard drive. Whichever works for you, do it whenever you can.
Not only does a backup prepare you in the event that your system gets a virus or ransomware, but it also saves your data when other problems occur such as hard disk failure to the possibility of – your office burning down.
In the long run, investing in a cloud service or purchasing external hard drives is worth it. It is cheaper than recovering valuable data with the possibility of only getting a fraction back.
Install Antivirus Software
Sad to say, there are still millions of individuals who leave their computers defenceless. Another powerful means to prevent viruses and other malware such as Wanna Cry from getting into your system is by installing an antivirus. It’s as easy as that. However, you should take note to ensure it’s updated at all times.
Although no antivirus software can 100% repel everything, it will boost your computer’s defence significantly. Most antivirus companies spend a large chunk of their time investigating and adding new ways to defend against viruses and will send updates to everyone using their software when they update their databases of new viruses.
Train Your Staff and Yourself in Identifying Malicious Websites, Emails, and Apps
The fastest means to get a virus is to download it over the internet. That is the quickest and most typical way to get your computers infected or, in worst cases, hacked. But this problem would never have happened in the first place if you or your staff were able to identify it.
Taking short courses or reading articles about what a suspicious link looks like on the internet will help you know if the site you’re about to open or the link you’re about to click is safe. There are signs to look for, and being knowledgeable about it can greatly decrease the chances of infecting your computer.
Hire a Managed Information Technology Services Provider
We understand that most small-time business owners have little or no time at all to manually do all of the mentioned above – especially the hands-on type. If you consider yourself as one, then the best solution you have is to hire a managed IT services provider.
A managed IT service is a type of service that will proactively take care of your business’ technological aspect – and that’s what we do here at My Computer Support. We take care of your security, we update your programs and software, we install essentials, and we resolve issues – all of a flat fee per device.
Our goal is to keep your business running and reduce, or completely eliminate system downtimes. We do that by preventing problems from ever occurring – such as ransomware from penetrating your system or system malfunction due to poor maintenance. Unlike the traditional break and fix that only helps when the problem has already surfaced, we make sure that it never will.
In fact, due to our pro-active approach of ensuring every machine has windows on the latest updates and ensuring all the antivirus software we distribute are updated very regularly, none of our clients were affected at all.