The WannaCry Ransomware Attack: What Businesses Need to Know

Did you hear about the WannaCry attack? This worldwide cyberattack got a lot of attention in the media. News of these types of attacks can be very alarming for business owners who may worry they’ll be affected.

Here’s what you need to know about the WannaCry attack.

What Ransomware Is

If you don’t have a background in information technology, you may not know what ransomware is. It’s a type of malicious software that prevents you from using your computer normally. There are many different types of this malicious software, and they affect computers differently. Some types encrypt your files so you can’t use them. Other types block certain apps, like your web browser. Other types lock you out of Windows.

To regain access to your computer, you’ll be asked to pay a ransom. After you pay the ransom, the hackers may give you access to your computer. However, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your data back if you pay; the hackers are criminals, after all.

The WannaCry Attack

WannaCry is a type of ransomware. It’s also called WannaCrypt or WanaCryptor. This worm is built with an exploit called EternalBlue. EternalBlue is thought to be a tool created by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). This tool was leaked by hackers, and in the wrong hands, it caused a lot of problems.

Computers in more than 150 countries were affected by this worm. Data was encrypted, and users were told to pay $300 to get their data back. This had a serious impact around the world. For example, hospitals in Britain had to cancel procedures because they couldn’t get into their systems.

How WannaCry Spread

Unlike other types of malicious software, WannaCry wasn’t spread by user actions. No one had to download a suspicious file or click a suspicious link to get the worm. The worm spread over the internet, hopping from computer to computer, without any user interaction. This is how WannaCry was able to become the largest ransomware attack in history.

Microsoft released a patch for this exploit, but not everyone patched their operating systems. Many businesses and individuals were using unpatched, outdated versions of the Windows operating system. These unpatched systems were very vulnerable to the worm spreading across the internet.

Future Threats

The WannaCry attack was stopped by a security researcher, but that doesn’t mean ransomware threats are over. Hackers aren’t going to stop creating malicious software. Creating ransomware can be a profitable criminal enterprise.

The threat of malicious software will continue to be a constant threat for businesses.

Protecting Your Business

The thought of getting infected with malicious software is enough to keep any business owner up at night. Losing access to your business’s computers, or losing all of your business’s data, could bring operations to a halt. Worse, your business could be forced to close.

Unfortunately, 58 percent of small businesses aren’t prepared for data loss. To protect your company, make sure to keep your operating system updated to the latest version. Performing updates can be annoying, and that’s why so many people put it off. Updates contain patches that fix security problems, so skipping updates makes you vulnerable.

While WannaCry didn’t spread through user actions, other types of malicious software do. Be aware of phishing emails and malicious attachments. You should also stay away from websites that are known for spreading malware. Make sure your employees know to avoid these dangerous internet habits.

Despite your best efforts to protect yourself, you could be affected by ransomware. This is why backing up your business’s data is essential. When you have a backup, you can restore your business if you’re affected by worms like WannaCry. One of the benefits of using omni-channel cloud-based computing services, like an ERP system, is your data gets backed up automatically. Since the data isn’t on your computer, it will be safe if you get locked out.