By Sanjai Gangadharan, Regional Director SAARC, A10 Networks
WannaCry ransomware worm has created havoc across the globe hitting about 150 countries and over 57,000 computers. This is primarily because of using Microsoft’s Windows XP, one of the operating systems most at risk, which is still widely used across the globe.
Malicious content increasingly hides in encrypted traffic to bypass conventional security controls. As a result, enterprise security is failing despite the billions of dollars spent. Unfortunately, many firewalls, intrusion prevention, and threat prevention products can’t keep pace with growing SSL encryption demands.
In India, while the extend of the havoc created seems minimal, primarily due to the case not being reported, there have been isolated incidents experienced by the Andhra Pradesh Police department, West Bengal electricity board and some village panchayats in Kerala.
How do you protect yourself, your business and your machines from malware like WannaCry? Here are some best practices to ensure you’re protected against these types of attacks:
Timely OS update: Update your operating system to the latest version and install all patches. Doing so regularly will ensure your machine stays safe from unwanted malware and other vulnerabilities that attackers tend to exploit. To protect against WannaCry, newer Windows Versions can be patched with MS17-010, which Microsoft released in March. Microsoft released a patch for older systems on Friday.
Being cautious of malicious email attachments: While it’s uncertain whether WannaCry leverages phishing to gain a foothold on target machines, many ransomware attacks use phishing emails that contain a malicious link or attachment that will infect your machine. Avoid clicking or opening any such attachment.
Backup data: Regularly create and keep secure backups of your most important files and data. If your machine becomes infected, you can easily restore your data.
Update antivirus software: Ensure you have the most up-to-date version of antivirus software that can thwart the latest types of viruses and worms, such as ransomware attacks. Have an evolved Risk culture Introduce and encourage a culture of cyber security diligence in your organization. Enforcing simple tasks such as locking workstations, securing laptops, using strong passwords and alerting employees about phishing scams and other attacks can help prevent the spread of malware through an organization or network.
Multi-layered security strategy: Use best-of-breed solutions for robust security and defense against the evolving threat landscape. Having multiple layers of security increases the chances of catching and eradicating malware like WannaCry before it has the opportunity to wreak havoc. A multi-layered defense will also mitigate the risk of any single device being compromised and being rendered ineffective.
Following these best practices increases your chances of preventing WannaCry from infiltrating your network and your business.