Protect yourself from ransomware

Since the global coordinated ransomware attack on thousands of private and public sector organisations across dozens of countries on Friday, there have been no sustained new attacks of that kind.

But it is important to understand that the way these attacks work means that compromises of machines and networks that have already occurred may not yet have been detected, and that existing infections from the malware can spread within networks.

How can we guard against this?

Due to broad government and partner efforts, a variety of tools are now publicly available to help organisations to do this.  This guidance can be found on – http://ncsc.gov.uk – under the title Protecting Your Organisation From Ransomware: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/ransomware-latest-ncsc-guidance

It is possible that a ransomware attack of this type and on this scale could recur, though we have no specific evidence that this is the case.  What is certain is that ransomware attacks are some of the most immediately damaging forms of cyber-attack that affects home users, enterprises and governments equally.

It is also the case that there are a number of easy-to-implement defences against ransomware which very considerably reduce the risk of attack and the impact of successful attacks.  See this link for further information :
(https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-your-organisation-ransomware)

Three simple steps for companies to undertake can be summarised as follows:

  1. Keep your organisation’s security software patches up to date;
  2. Use proper anti-virus software services
  3. Most importantly for ransomware, back up the data that matters to you, because you can’t be held to ransom for data you hold somewhere else.

Home users and small businesses can take the following steps to protect themselves:

  1. Run Windows Update
  2. Make sure your AntiVirus product is up to date and run a scan – If you don’t have one install one of the free trial versions from a reputable vendor
  3. If you have not done so before, this is a good time to think about backing important data up – You can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.

We would like to reassure the public that resources from the Government, law enforcement and public and private sector organisation are working together to manage further disruption from the current attack and to increase protection against any further attacks in the coming days.

The country’s security and law enforcement agencies are working round the clock to protect the public. Private sector efforts have made a very significant contribution to mitigate the cyber-attacks so far and to prevent further disruption.