Cyber Security: Lessons from 'WannaCry'

08 Jun 2017, MOQdigital Marketing

Cyber Security

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Recently, we have been facing the aftermath of the global cyber attack 'WannaCry'.  The attack saw over 230,000 computer systems in 150 countries affected by malicious software that wormed its way through systems and rendered devices, and all of their content, useless.

Many companies believe their systems are secure from these kinds of attacks and many organisations have no plan of action when it comes to resolving matters of cyber security. However, we are seeing a rise in malware and ransomware attacks, breaches in business security, and data corruption. The fact of the matter is that awareness and prevention are key to reducing risk, and speed is paramount for the recovery of both your information and your company following an attack. 

Here are a few things we need to learn from 'WannaCry'. 

Be alert to insider threats
Insider threats are those that happen from within the company. These threats are often accidental, but this does not mean they cannot be catastrophic. A single employee with the right level of clearance could accidentally open an email containing malware or ransomware, follow a poor link, or do any number of things to compromise your system from within.
Here is where employee accountability and training comes in, as well as protective monitoring to ensure that your systems are handled appropriately, and staff are aware of company procedures regarding cyber security. Protective monitoring encourages teams to take the right course of action when it comes to defending against and detecting potential threats. Doing this before any significant damage is done is crucial.

Invest in protective monitoring
Setting up a protective monitoring system can be a straightforward and efficient process to stay ahead of cyber security threats.
Let’s break it down into four stages.

1) Understand your asset usage patterns: Organisations should keep updated on current assets, employee identities and any significant changes in behaviour, the volume of transactions, and time taken for tasks.

2) See suspicious behaviour: This then allows a company to search for any unusual or suspicious behaviours within their systems, and find weak points where their system might be at the highest risk.

3) Keep up to date: Businesses can then integrate effective security measures to keep their security up-to-date and relevant against risks to the company.

4) Set up an early warning dashboard: Not only should cyber security systems be up-to-date, but your data and insights should be too. Even the best-planned systems may encounter a breach. In these cases, addressing the issue before it causes too much damage is crucial. Don’t risk your information by keeping all your eggs in one basket, and be prepared to address a worst-case scenario. 

Protective monitoring should remain ethical and legal, as well as unpredictable to ensure that your business systems are tested for the worst attacks – and able to predict and prevent them.

Stay patched!
Unpatched software was a key exploit for WannaCry, highlighting the fact that hackers often target specific vulnerabilities that have not yet been fixed by updates and patches.  It is easy to ignore reminders to update software and systems, but by doing businesses do themselves a disservice and put their systems at unnecessary risk. 

On top of improving system safety, patches:

  • Help revise any shortfalls in the system
  • Add new features and functions
  • Remove outdated features
  • Updated Drivers
  • Administer bug fixes
  • Address and bolster security concerns

Malware and ransomware can steal data and garner control over your computer - and any connected internal systems of a corporation. Keeping hackers at bay can be as simple as updating your software and patches when they become available.

Keeping your systems up-to-date keeps your products and assets behind software that is at its most secure. Your internal security systems should then operate above this level, with preventative measures ready to leap into action should the worst occur. Businesses should also be looking at strengthening passwords, connecting to secure networks and remaining off unsecured Wi-Fi, keeping employees educated and accountable, and taking a pragmatic approach IT policies.

Knowing that your operational systems and teams are equipped to either block or stop an attack should reduce your security risk and keep you up and running should your systems suffer a cyber attack.

Foresight is your best defence
Understand your risks, so you are best able to manage them. Modern technology is moving at a rapid rate, and cyber threats are even faster.
Find out more about how our Cyber Security Assessment can help your organisation detect and respond to the ever-evolving Cyber Security threats both internally and externally.

Are you ready for the Australian Data Breach Reporting legislation? Our team can help you assess your readiness.

Don’t trust your security to just anyone – Stay ahead, and stay secure with MOQdigital. Contact us today.