Cyber Security

How to Protect Against Ransomware

Image result for ransomwareThe NHS has suffered a major cyber-attack that hit hospitals across the country, leading to patients being turned away from A&E.

The attack used a form of ransomware and targeted thousands of organisations in as many as 74 countries. Ransomware is a kind of cyber-attack that involves hackers taking control of a computer or mobile device and demanding payment.

Much like malware and viruses, ransomware can get onto your PC from nearly any source.

Below are some actions you can take to protect yourself from ransomware:

  • Beware of malicious websites, look at the logo, colours, is there anything suspicious about this website?
  • Opening emails and email attachments from people you don’t know, or that you weren’t expecting. If you’re unsure of the content, do not open it.
  • Clicking onto malicious links on social media sites such as; Facebook, Twitter, Instant Messenger chats such as Skype.
  • Often fake emails and webpages have bad spelling, or just look unusual. Look out for strange spelling and punctuation in company names/email addresses.
  • Ensure that no data is stored on your PC only, make sure that data is stored in a central server based location and backed up to external devices/cloud providers regularly. Data should be backed up daily, where possible. Your backups should also be checked and tested regularly.
  • Ensure that you have the latest Operating System (PC or Server) or at the very least having an Operating System which is supported by the supplier, and has security updates applied. Ideally, your OS should be Windows 7 or above.
  • Anti-Virus products are at the latest levels and frequently updated.
  • Users should only have access to the files that they need, ensure that permissions are set correctly.

If you would like to discuss ransomware and cyber-attacks further, please feel free to contact a member of our team on: 020 8249 7000

Hackers Predicted to Take Ransomware to the Next Level in 2017

The arrival of new methods of Ransomware such as Locky and Cryptowall has caused experts to title 2016 as the year of ransomware. Professionals are now predicting that ransomware will continue to grow in sophistication in 2017.

Image result for ransomwareA recent CSO online article featured predictions on what to expect from ransomware in 2017. In the article, Watchguard CTO, Corey Nachreiner, predicts that 2017 will see the first ever ‘ransomworm’ causing ransomware to spread even faster:

“Years ago, network worms like CodeRed, SQL Slammer, and more recently, Conficker were pretty common. Hackers exploited network vulnerabilities and tricks to make malware automatically spread itself over networks. Now, imagine ransomware attached to a network worm. After infecting one victim, it would tirelessly copy itself to every computer on your local network it could reach. Whether or not you want to imagine such a scenario, I guarantee that cyber criminals are already thinking about it.”

Read more about ransomworm in the full article here.

Stay Safe Online this Christmas

With Christmas being one of the busiest times of the year for online shopping – Cyber criminals are taking advantage of this and looking for their next online victim.

Below are some helpful tips to help you stay protected online this year:

Image result for christmas online shopping1. If you receive an email from a shop you don’t know or trust, do not open the email or any attachments that may have been include

2. Don’t click onto any Phishing links that may be sent to you via text message or SMS app

3. Make sure your passwords are complex – a minimum of 12 characters and do not contain any dictionary words

4. When you are buying gifts online using your mobile phone, before inputting your payment details, ensure you switch your phone to cellular

5. Ensure that when you are in a public place, do not use public WiFi to make payments online

The Risks of Using a Public Wifi Hotspot

If you are accessing an insecure WiFi in a public place, you may be allowing unauthorised people to intercept what you are doing online. Your passwords, emails and personal information could be at risk.

Image result for public wifi hotspotsThis can happen if the WiFi connection is not encrypted or if someone has set up a fake hotspot which persuades you to believe it is the legitimate one.

You can tell that you are on a secure connection if the WiFi asks you to add in a ‘key’. Even by logging onto a internet access page within a hotel or cafe does not guarantee that the connection is encrypted.

Unless you are using a secure WiFi you should not send or receive private information when using public WiFi. Where possible, try to use commercial hotspots such as BT OpenZone or T-Mobile.


How to Create a Strong Password

With security breaches on the rise, it is crucial that you protect yourself from hackers by creating a strong password.

Image result for strong passwordThe below recommendations are key to creating a good and memorable password:

1) Try to make the password a minimum of 12 characters. Ideally, the password should be even longer than this but try to keep 12 characters as your absolute minimum.
2) By including a different combination of numbers, symbols, capital letters and lower case letters it will make your password harder to crack.
3) Try to not use dictionary words or a combination of dictionary words. For example, ‘house’ is a terrible password  or ‘red house’ is also bad.
4) Make sure that your password is not an obvious choice for you. For example, don’t use a family members name or your date of birth as this is easily guessable.


SMEs – Cyber Security

It’s hard to keep up with the cyber criminals and threats, so organisations must do more to protect themselves.

Image result for cyber securityUp to 74% of SMEs suffered a cyber security breach in 2015. The attacks on businesses include; phishing, malware viruses and ransomware. These attacks are on the rise, and could stop businesses from accessing their own data or leave them vulnerable to valuable data being stolen.

It’s important to remember that up to 10% of security breaches are caused internally therefore, it is crucial that all staff should be made aware of the potential threats.

To speak with one of our experts about cyber security, please contact us on: 020 8249 7000