Every business today is now on the internet in some form or another, through online banking to online shops. The internet has made the world feel far more convenient to live and work in. In some cases, the internet has taken entire high street chains away and opened the market to everyone on the internet.
Like all good stories, there is always a villain who is misunderstood and in some cases an outcast. The media can be an active tool in spreading the wrong message about the villain and cause disarray or further misunderstanding. It is hard to know what is right and what is wrong, who to believe and how you can be truly affected by the villain in any story. We regularly see businesses who use the internet, mobile phones, computers and other inter-connected devices, without any understanding on their full capability and usually they are used with blind trust.
Trust comes from big name brands like McAfee, Norton, Microsoft and Apple to name a few. The reality is that no matter how big they are and how many millions they make, they still make errors which, consequently, can affect any one of their customers – which means it affects you!
Earlier this year there was a string of ransomware called ‘WannaCry’, that made the news because it affected companies all around the world, including the NHS. Arguably, this was the first time the public understood a cyberbased crime had been committed, that affected them directly, through cancelled appointments and so on.
Ransomware is a malicious piece of software that infects computers and renders them unusable until a ransom is paid. However, this rarely is a successful plight for the victim of such a crime.
Sadly, the news does not report on all the other businesses affected by ransomware, which in our case in the South West, affected a clothing website which was the sole channel of sales for the company. There was also a caravan site in Cornwall in the height of summer that was hit by ransomware, their entire booking system and website was paralysed by ransomware. The caravan company, naturally, had no idea of the bookings and it was not an ideal opportunity to test the backup system either.
You’re probably asking yourself, why were they targeted? Well the reality is that the businesses were not the target. In fact, it was a vulnerability that was exploited within Microsoft’s Windows-based computers for WannaCry, back in March 2017. The caravan booking system was, in fact, a ransomware attack on a Linux server, which never makes the news as everyone presumes that Linux is safe.
The morale of this story is you need to take ownership and understand your systems however big or small. With great power comes great responsibility. Reach for your own superhero cape, make sure you have anti-malware software on every device, ensure updates happen and never use administrator accounts where possible.
If you are not sure where to start, think about answering the questions in the government backed Cyber Essentials Questionnaire to see what controls are in place for your organisation. This will empower you to understand your environment and help you protect it. You can access the questionnaire by using this link – https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/cyberessentials/
For further information please contact Peter Jones at Securious 01392 247110 – email@example.com – @securiousNS on Twitter
This article first appeared in our holiday and residential park newsletter, read Explorer