Most of you will have seen the news in the last few weeks that multiple NHS hospitals were attacked by the Wanna Cry ransomeware, which led to patients being turned away and emergency services being re-routed.
The word ransomware results from the word ransom and the word software, and means a virus which encrypts and locks your computers and demands a ransom payment to unlock. In this particular instance it targeted older IT systems which should have been updated years ago. However there are quite literally thousands of variations of this type of attack and multiple businesses and organisations are being threatened every single day.
Furthermore, cyber attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, attacking the latest operating systems, and infiltrating backups, leaving organisations with little choice but to pay the ransom.
It is also a myth that cyber criminals prefer to target larger companies or organisations, such as in this case the NHS. In fact, small and medium businesses are more at risk, as they are more vulnerable because they have limited resources to secure their IT systems.
Activities such as this attack are called cyber crimes because they are obviously illegal and criminal. However, with big rewards available in the form of ransom payments, and the possibility of remaining well hidden, cyber criminals are prepared to take risks.
Like many IT companies here at Anglia IT Solutions, we have sadly seen several of our clients targeted with these types of attacks. To combat this, therefore, we have now rolled out a separate security product to all of our customers which will help prevent these types of attacks. In addition we are proactively meeting our clients and stressing the need to have multiple layer backups as well as educating computer users about what to look for when receiving emails.
So whilst we don’t want to alarm companies, we do think it is important for businesses of all sizes to be aware of this threat and to take measures to prevent being a victim of such an attack.