A new ransomware attack brought many businesses to their knees on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. This PetrWrap virus is a strain of Petya ransomware, discovered by Kaspersky Labs in May. (Russell Brandon, A new ransomware attack is affecting airlines, banks, and utilities across Europe, June 27, 2017, https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/27/15879480/petrwrap-virus-ukraine-ransomware-attack-europe-wannacry).
Businesses closed across the globe. Once again, they caused extensive damage and major inconvenience around the world. Although the Ukraine and Europe were hardest hit, the chaos, fear and pain was also felt in the U.S. And the virus is spreading.
DLA Piper’s Minneapolis office phones and computers were shut down and employees sent home, including those in IT. (Stacy Zaretsky, Global Biglaw Firm ‘Paralyzed’ By New Ransomware Attack, June 27, 2017. http://abovethelaw.com/2017/06/global-biglaw-firm-paralyzed-by-new-ransomware-attack/)
Could This Ransomware Attack Have Been Prevented?
Petrwrap ransomware employs the same EternalBlue exploit used by WannaCry, which I wrote about last month. It can spread quickly between infected systems.
A hacker or group of hackers known as The Shadow Brokers allegedly stole these “exploits” from the NSA earlier this year. (An exploit is the use of software, data, or commands to harness a weakness for malicious purpose).
The NSA and other entities that could have and, arguably, should have minimized or thwarted this incident did not disclose key information until they had egg on their face.
Microsoft has since patched most, but not all, of these flaws. (Selena Larson. NSA’s powerful windows hacking tools leaked online. April 15, 2017. http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/14/technology/windows-exploits-shadow-brokers/) &
(Selena Larson, Massive cyberattack targeting 99 countries causes sweeping havoc, May 13, 2017. http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/12/technology/ransomware-attack-nsa-microsoft/)
However, Microsoft can do nothing to mend issues in software it no longer supports, such as Windows XP. Thus, vulnerabilities exist all over with computer users using it. Researchers are challenged to keep up. (Joseph Cox, Shadow Brokers Dump Alleged Windows Exploits and NSA Presentations on Targeting Banks, April 14, 2017. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bmezja/shadow-brokers-dump-alleged-windows-exploits-and-nsa-presentations-on-targeting-banks )
Small business owners must defend themselves against cyberattacks
Internet crime will continue to increase. Criminals have been handed an easy payday with the combination of ransomware and Bitcoin.
The best solutions for protecting against negative impact of ransomware are unique to every business but include:
- Having the right type of IT support for your organization; RB’s Computer Service can help you with this.
- Creating a strong backup plan that prevents recreating or remembering a year of lost data. [link to http://rbsmn.com/2016/10/03/time-to-get-serious-in-2016-back-up-your-pc-network/]
- Scanning regularly for viruses and malware.
The cost of ransomware infection goes beyond a bitcoin payment. You must also take into account how much time will be needed to reset passwords and, possibly, to control damage. In some businesses, there are potential legal liabilities when data is disclosed, regardless of why it happened.
RB’s Computer Service can create a seamless backup system for your network and device(s). Let us know your needs to avoid the scenarios outlined above. We will be happy to match your needs with one of our Managed IT Services Agreements that makes sense.
I’ve written before about RB’s Computer Service Monthly Managed IT Service Agreements. It is no gimmick but, really, for the price one pays for lunch each day of the month, you could have a full proof backup solution, such as a secure password backup storage and access plus anti-virus & hacker protection. Uncomplicated to integrate and inexpensive. Features can be dialed up and dialed down to your specific needs.
To contact me today via phone or email, call 763-441-3884 or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to ransomware strategies, RB’s Computer Service sells the best commercial grade firewall routers, best laptop computers, best desktop computers, business computers, computer parts and computer monitors. We also provide managed IT services, computer repair, iPhone and smartphone repair and tablet repairs to customers and clients throughout central Minnesota and St. Cloud.