TECHNOLOGY: How to deal with ransomware

15 May, 2017

As widely reported over this past weekend, a large-scale “Ransomware” cyber attack was executed on Friday that has impacted a large number of businesses and users through the “WannaCry” or “WannaCrypt” virus.

Because this attack targets the Microsoft Windows operating system, John Raven, President of hosting solutions provider Newtek Technology Solutions, said that scheduled maintenance must be performed to systems used by shared web hosting customers on regular intervals including Windows
patch updates; antivirus updates; and updating firewall threat definitions and blocking commonly known high-threat protocols. In addition, steps have to be taken to deploy advanced counter-measures to detect and prevent the process used by the WannaCrypt threat.
Raven recommended the following measures:
• Keep your Server and Desktop Systems Up-to-date: In addition to ensuring your desktop computers in your office are updated regularly, the same attention must be given to your Windows servers.
• Using Unsupported Windows OS? If you are using unsupported versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 or 2008, apply the emergency patch released by Microsoft.
• Keep your Antivirus software up-to-date: Virus definitions on all Shared Web Hosting and all Servers that have subscribed to the Antivirus service have already been updated to protect against this latest threat.
• Backup Regularly.
• Beware of Phishing: Always be suspicious of uninvited documents sent an email and never click on links inside those documents unless verifying the source.
Some dedicated server and VPS customers utilise their service as “self-managed” or lightly managed.
“We encourage all Dedicated and VPS customers to ensure they have antivirus software; a data backup solution; and regularly update all software, including the operating system, on a regular schedule,” Raven concluded.

200,000+ systems affected by WannaCry ransom attack

More than 200,000 computers across 150 countries have been affected by a large-scale cyberattack in the past few days. The ransomware WannaCry encrypts information on computers and asks users to pay $300 in exchange for decryption.
According to press reports, the malicious software was first spotted in Russia but rapidly spread across the globe in what might turn out to be an attack of unprecedented scale. The attackers took advantage of a known flaw in Windows XP, the operating system that is still used by millions of PC users and machines across the globe. Microsoft officially stopped providing security support for XP in 2014 but issued an emergency patch in response to the latest attacks.
As our chart illustrates, the $300 ransom asked of users affected by the WannaCry attack is low compared to other attacks in recent years. The average ransom across all attacks known to security software provider Symantec in 2016 was $1,007. (Source: Statista)