The news has been filled with stories about the WannaCrypt ransomware attack that has impacted many computers world-wide.
Warren Buffett recently called cyberattacks the “number one problem with mankind,”
But is this a new problem? Not at all. When interviewed in 1952, famed bank robber Slick Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks.
“I rob banks because that’s where the money is,” he said.
Ransomware is spreading because it works, and for criminals, it’s now where the easy money is found. Many, many users, fail to apply updates in a timely manner and/or fail to deploy reasonably available safeguards to keep their computing assets protected. As a result, they become easy targets for a ransomware event.
Ransomware is straight-up extortion. It’s when a bad actor triggers the encryption of the files on your computers, network, and/or cloud resources, then extorts the payment of a ransom for the keys to decrypt the data, often at an exorbitant price, but just less than the aggregate costs associated with the pains of a manual recovery from data backup resources.
This is the modern day equivalent of a mugging – you wouldn’t walk on crowded city streets waving a fist full of hundreds. You shouldn’t be computing on a system with out of date software on an unsecured network either.
However, a basic multi-level security plan can easily thwart attacks similar to WannaCrypt, and has for all of our managed clients. Perimeter security by firewalls with Intrusion Prevention Services enabled, active email and AV scanning, update to date managed and monitored security updates for operating systems and software, encryption of key data files, and a robust backup and recovery solution are cost-effective and available solutions to all small businesses. Add to this smart computing habits reinforced through continuing security education, and you’ve got a solid plan.
A lot of IT folks are going to try to scare the pants off you. While it’s true that their are bad actors out there that are coming for your data, if you have a plan and follow the plan, it’s safe to Keep Calm and Compute On.