What is going on?
Cyber threats are at an all time high, and it has never been more important for businesses to lock down their data. Gone are the days of locking up your shop – lock up your computer!
In a recent global attack, targeting some of the world’s most prominent businesses, a new wave of cyberattacks has taken over IT operating systems. The attack is similar in nature to the Wannacry cyber attack that went out, asking for $300 worth of bitcoin in order to get your IT systems back up and running. However, this time, it is close, with many attacks hitting Australian shores.
The ransomware is called Petya and it has affected many large businesses, putting them on standby to contain it from spreading to other operating systems. It has affected companies like Qantas, Qadbury and TNT express, causing major delays in the delivery of goods and putting significant strain on their service and goods. There is still very little information about who is responsible for the attack.
It works in a similar way to that of Wannacry, spreading mainly through internet firewalls and old versions of computer software and their vulnerabilities. It then exploits these vulnerabilities to gain access and lock down your computer. It promises to return your files and operating systems back to normal after the the $300USD of bitcoin is transferred to their account. But even after this, the return of your files and operating systems is not guaranteed, rarely actually getting your files back to their original state.
How does this affect me?
If you are a small or medium-sized business, this can easily affect you. Assuming you use some form of technology to conduct or manage you business, you are at risk of being attacked. Ransomware is a serious threat and many SMEs have been quite proactive in protecting themselves against such attacks. However there are still many hundreds of small businesses and individuals that are not protected.
The way technology is going today, most businesses have some online aspect, whether it be a website, ordering and sales systems, accounting software, or social media. The dramatic shift to online brings great opportunities, but also modern-day threats.
The risk that SMEs face is having files and information encrypted by corrupt malware. This can have a detrimental effect on your business, potentially losing customer order details, company records and sensitive information – all ultimately affecting your bottom line.
The NZ Government has been quite proactive about cybersecurity and as such, there haven’t been any reports of the outbreak yet in NZ. The recent attack was a test for the recent cyber infrastructure put in place by the NZ government to protect the public, proving our ability to keep out detrimental cyberattacks. A lot of businesses both nationally and across the globe have been affected by the recent attack, but many don’t understand that they are still at risk of similar outbreaks currently and in the future.
What you can do to be protected
→ Backup your data regularly
We cannot emphasise this point enough. It is so important to keep your files secure and up to date to avoid not only months of lost work, but also lost revenue as a result. It is quite simple to back your data up. All you need is either an external hard drive which you can purchase from most tech stores, or arguably even easier, you can migrate to cloud based data storage – making your information and files accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. This way, you will be able to access your files if your files have been affected.
→ Download security software
There are many free and paid cybersecurity and anti-malware software options available to SMEs. Do your research and find out the best one suitable for you and your business. Obviously the more you pay, the better protection you can get – but this needs to be evaluated according to your circumstances as you might end up paying for things you don’t need. A good place to start would be Norton or Kaspersky.
→ Keep your software up to date
The rate of innovation driving technological advancements means the software you use should be the latest version, in order to dodge intrusive malware and viruses like WannaCry and Petya. Hackers and viruses are continuously finding new ways to get into your information and around firewalls to corrupt your information, so it pays to be on top of this with the different programs you use to conduct your work.
→ Update your computer
You know the annoying little popup that appears in the bottom corner of your screen saying, “Updates available. Update your computer now”? The answer is yes. It’s time to update your computer. Make sure your PC is running the latest version of its operating system. Although they can be an inconvenience, it is important your computer stays up to date with patches and fixes to prevent impending malware attacks.
If you find yourself the victim of a cyber crime and need flexible, unsecured financing to remain atop of these hazards, we have you covered. Spotcap offers tailored financing opportunities to SMEs from $10k to $500k, so you can focus on what really matters – getting your business back on its feet.
Until next time,
The Spotcap team.
Originally published June 28 2017