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Global ransomware virus: how do these attacks occur?

A survey conducted conducted by Conosco in 2016 indicated that a massive 94% of respondents (including a number of IT professionals) failed to recognise email phishing attempts. This puts companies at risk of virus infection…

As you have probably seen in the news, a virus is infecting old computers around the world and demanding a ransom. This attack almost certainly started with fake emails to users with attachments that they opened, then spread from computer to computer through a weakness in the Windows operating system.

But these malicious emails are not always easy to identify. To demonstrate this, leading London-based  IT services company Conosco created a survey challenging respondents to spot fake emails used for ransomware. The survey targeted a group of senior individuals across a range of SME companies to gauge how well this group could identify  increasingly sophisticated hacking attempts. Only 6% managed to get all the answers right, indicating that businesses remain exposed to risk. In fact, lack of staff awareness/training was highlighted as a significant security concern.

IT solutions providers have been working around the clock since Friday afternoon running automated and manual checks to make sure that clients’ systems are protected, but there is no complete protection from these attacks without the users’ vigilance. And the next attack will likely be much harder to stop.

We urge everyone who uses a connected device:

  • do not open suspicious emails
  • do not click links to other websites unless you are sure it is bona fide
  • be cautious of attachments or pictures received unexpectedly, even from known persons
  • don’t install unknown software
  • use strong passwords

As the recent events demonstrate, cyber-hacks can affect anyone. You can’t protect against them 100%, but we must all do as much as we can to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves.

If in doubt about your cyber resilience, contact Conosco for a free consultation: www.conosco.com/contact