Last month, one of the largest globally targeted ransomware attacks in history hit the news – taking out the computer systems in England and Scotland, disabling digital records and equipment in their healthcare facilities.
Most businesses are much smaller organizations than the globally-recognized NHS, but we wanted to know – does that make them safe from ransomware attacks? If not, what can be done to protect systems and data? ATAK Interactive reached out to our technology partner, INC Technologies. President Aramis Hernandez gave us a primer on what you need to know.
1. Do you see ransomware attacks with your IT clients?
AH: Fortunately, we don’t see it as much with our existing clients. However, most of our new IT clients arrive at our doorstep because they lacked the proper care and security. The process starts with home or business computers. Usually, these are machines running Windows – since it’s the most popular operating system, and many users don’t keep their computer security and operating systems up to date, making that computer the most likely candidate to be subjected to a phishing attack.
While everyone has learned not to trust email attachments, email links are another story. Think about how many links you click every day – that’s the most common way we see ransomware make its way into a machine. You’re much more likely to click a link, than download an unusual looking file.
2. Tell us some more about that – how does ransomware end up on someone’s machine?
AH: In an email phishing attack, an attacker represents itself as a person or group that you trust, like Paypal or Google. Then you download a file or click a link, and the software will exploit a vulnerability in your computer.
This can also be links posted in other places, too – like social media sites, or search results. The page you end up at exploits a weakness in your browser or your operating system, and installs the ransomware.