Your PC has built in Ransomwear protection

Your PC has built in Ransomwear protection

As you may be aware there is an ongoing ransomware attack on the health service in Ireland. But this is just the latest in an increasing number of such attacks. An attack on the Colonial oil pipeline in the US showed how our supply chains and businesses are vunerable to such attacks.

In light of this I came across an interesting article on the built in defense already on your PC. I didn’t realise that there was such a function. It may not be perfect and the best advice is probably to treat this virus like the Covid virus and be extremely cautious. But at least it is one small step you can take if you are concerned about ransomware in your business.

The other steps are of course is to have an offline backup and an up to date antivirus installed and running on your PC. These take a short time to set up and may involve a small investment in hardware and software but is a relatively small cost compared to the potential disruption to your business. I worked for a company in the past that fell victim to such an attack. If that happens there are only two options. Pay the ransom or clean the system, restore an uninfected back up and hope it wasn’t too long ago and you haven’t lost too much information. There is, in effect, no way to fix the corrupted data.

The positive aspect of the current attacks is people are currently aware of the risk and the potential cost to the business. So now is a good time to put plans in place to deal with such an attack. Some recommended steps:

  1. Immediately back up your critical data on an offline harddisk or memory stick. It must be an offline backup. If it is connected to the network it will also become infected.
  2. Investigate the option to hold a paper backup of some critical information (contact numbers etc). But make sure that it is a GDPR compliant.
  3. Install a strong anti-virus. There are many well known brands such as AVG and Norton. Personally I use AVG.
  4. Activate the ransomwear protection on your pc.
  5. Make sure your staff are fully aware of the dangers of ransom wear and how to be suspicious of any and all emails or websites from unknown sources.
  6. Write a procedure on the steps you will take if there is such an attack. Panic can set in during such an event so if you have a clear process to follow this will help on the day.
  7. If possible do a walk through of what will happen in the event of an attack. If you lost all computer access would your business have to shut down or is it possible to use paper records etc. It is not that long since we did use paper for everything so it may be possible to return to that. If you develop that plan now and have the printed forms etc that you need then you may be able to get up and running in hours rather than days/weeks. If you wait until the day to do it you will have to overcome all the obstacles and concerns then and that could take longer than restoring the system itself.

Hopefully this will never happen to you and your business but hope is not a suitable protection. Take the steps today. I suspect that these attacks will