Only one week has passed after a mass phishing attack hit the Gmail users, and the world came under attack by a new global cyber threat called WannaCry ransomware. This attack, as our security experts predict, might become the turning point for individuals and organizations all over the world in strengthening their cyber security.
WannaCry – a New Threat or an Old Virus?
The algorithm of a virus is simple but dangerous. An email with malicious attachment was sent to many users, and when they opened it, the virus infected their computers and ciphered their files. The hackers used Eternal Blue that exploited a Microsoft MS17-010 vulnerability. It let the virus spread over the corporate system and scan all connected computers for the same vulnerability. If the attack had stopped at the first wave, only separate individuals would have been compromised, but with Eternal Blue, the problem mushroomed to the enterprise level.
Actually, there is nothing special and sophisticated about WannaCry. It did not make a zero-day exploit, but used the vulnerability that had been discovered and fixed by Microsoft in March 2017. Like the 90% of all hacker attacks throughout the world, it used the vulnerability discovered by the OS developers – not by hackers themselves – during the last 1-2 years. Such attacks target users of outdated operating systems and those who have not updated their software.
This partly explains why Russia, Ukraine, India, and Taiwan suffered the most: at these places many people download cracked Microsoft copies instead of buying legitimate Windows licenses, and such copies are obviously not updated properly. In Great Britain, multiple medical organizations were infected presumably because they used Windows XP and Server 2003 that are no longer officially supported by Microsoft. The attack hit companies at over 150 countries and caused estimated costs of the hack varying from hundreds of millions to $4 billion.
What Is the Solution?
There are two theoretical ways to decipher your data. The first is to pay ransom. For many companies $300 may not seem a high price for their valuable databases and files. However, we emphatically discourage you from doing so. Not only do you sponsor the efforts of the bad guys but also not a single case has been reported of anyone receiving their files back. You can never be sure that your files will be decrypted after submitting payment.
The second theoretical way in ransomware cases is to use decryption software. Here, the problem is that every new type of ransomware creates a new code that complicates the work of finding a decryption key while old keys no longer do the job. Antivirus and internet security companies work hard on it, but you never know when the decryption software will become available. And for corporate data, having your sensitive files blocked for even one day can result in significant financial losses. You may have probably read multiple tweets about the code WNcry@2ol7 that allegedly deciphers WannaCry files. Actually, this is fake and as of this point no decryption key exists for this type of malware.
“Backup-as-a-Culture” Is the Only Solution
Here we come to the basics of cyber security hygiene.
Look at the simple analogy. Why do you brush your teeth every morning? You protect them from cavities and plaque. You don’t wait until the diseases occur, rather you take measures beforehand. This is how it works with dental hygiene, but the same is true for cyber hygiene. You did not need backup fifty years ago because personal computers and cyber data did not exist. But as the technology evolves and becomes an integral part of our lives, as the information stored at cloud and hardware storages becomes critical, and as hackers become even more sophisticated, backup becomes a must-have tool for everybody: from a middle school pupil to global enterprises.
Life gives us a wake-up call that the time for the early and late majorities to backup their data has arrived. The cloud is as vulnerable to ransomware virus as local computers are by the means of desktop synchronization. Furthermore, experts predict that in the nearest future the cloud will be attacked directly via malicious 3rd-party apps.
If you worry about data stored at G Suite like Gmail, Drive, Contacts, Calendars, here at Spinbackup, Backup + Recovery pricing plan is only $3/user/month. Is your data worth of $3?
After you subscribe to Spinbackup, your G Suite applications data will be stored at secure Amazon server. And then it will be automatically backed up EVERY DAY. If you become a victim of ransomware, you will be able to recover the whole account in a single click thanks to our automated daily snapshot incremental backup technology. Even if several days or weeks have gone after being infected, you can use the Restore-in-Time machine and recover the account by the date your computer was free of virus. This way you are protected 24/7.
What Should We Learn from WannaCry Ransomware Attack?
The conclusion is short and the recommended course of actions is obvious.
- If you were attacked by WannaCry, we recommend reinstalling your OS at all infected computers and install Microsoft patch MS17-010 as soon as possible.
- Always update your software to the latest version.
- Always have your data backed up to 3rd-party cloud storage automatically, on a daily basis. Work only with trusted backup providers that use encryption in transit and at rest.
You really CAN protect your corporate sensitive data from ransomware. Do not wait until you become a victim – protect your data beforehand.
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