After the unprecedented WannaCry ransomware Cyber-attack that targeted over 230,000 computers over the weekend we take a look at how companies can protect themselves and their servers and data from future attacks. This latest cyber-attack hit particularly close to home with some HSE networks affected. Our UK neighbours were also hit, with the NHS particularly affected. The HSE network will remain closed for another 48 hours to prevent any further damage from the attack. So what can Irish companies do to protect themselves and limit the damage of being victims of online hacks and cyber-attacks?
Here are some simple steps:
- Back up your files and Data: This might seem like quite an obvious measure to take when protecting your data, but it is a measure that is often overlooked. Ransomware malware gain access to your files and lock them, demanding payment for their release. By backing up important files and documents regularly you will have access to them even in the event of a cyber-attack. Your company’s IT manager can advise you on how often you should back up your files.
- Handle Passwords securely.
Employee passwords should be long, unique and complex. Ensure that your employees have a work password that is different and separate from any passwords that they use for private accounts. It is better to use a longer easy to remember password than a shorter string of random characters as these type of passwords can easily be hacked. Additionally, employees should be prohibited from sharing credentials as this can lead to breaches in security.
- Update company machines
Remind your employees that their PC’s and Laptops should regularly be updated. Computers that are not updated are at a greater risk of being targeted and infected with malware and spyware. Computer antivirus software should also be kept up to date and any updates that become available should be installed immediately. While some employees may find these updates an inconvenience they are vitally important for your company’s cyber protection.
- Communicate Cybersecurity protocol with employees.
Believe it or not, your employees are at the front line of cybersecurity. Be sure that they are aware of the risks of using email and the internet while on the company network. Employees should only browse secure websites and should not open emails or attachments from unknown or unfamiliar sources.
Awareness and preparedness are vital for companies when doing business in a Digital Age. Over 80% of all business is now conducted online so it is crucial that companies are prepared to survive and overcome all types of cyber threats.