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May 17, 2017

NHS Cyber Attack: Protecting Your Business’ Cyber Security

After the cyber-attack on the NHS, the news is very much focussed on how you can protect your business against similar cyber-attacks and ransomware. A range of businesses across all industries will have confidential data that they will be desperate to keep safe, and while you may think that your data is secure, more often than not there are loopholes that you just don’t know about. This doesn’t mean that you should panic – a cyber-attack on the scale of the NHS is unlikely to happen to you, particularly if you’re a small business. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take precautionary action against potential cyber-attacks, and protect yourself and your business in the meantime by following these important steps.

Ensure Patches & Updates Are Installed

According to the NCSC guide to protecting your organisation, some ransomware will be able to exploit vulnerabilities in your software and operating systems in order to gain control. Generally, these vulnerabilities will be publicly known, and if this is the case, your software provider may have some patches available that will help to mitigate these. Ultimately, this is the best way to help prevent systems from being exploited. However it is important to remember that patching these for the web browser and email isn’t always going to be enough. It is important that patches are also implemented for any connected systems in order to prevent ransomware from switching to and from the systems and encrypting the files as it goes.


Avoid Dubious Websites & Downloads

Ensuring your website access is somewhat filtered in order to help ensure that your employees are not clicking on sites that may contain a virus is also important. This way, you are restricting the possibility of any virus or ransomware that may attack your systems, which will ultimately provide you with a new way to secure your data and files. Another way that you can do this is to filter web browsing traffic, by using a separate security appliance to help proxy your outgoing web browsing data.

Back Up Important Files

It is imperative that any organisation, no matter how big or small, has a backup solution in place in order to help ensure that all of your data and files are protected. It is important to also consider whether or not your back up files are at risk of a ransomware attack, and if so, they should be removed and changed to somewhere a ransomware attack will struggle to infect it. However, it is important to note that solely backing up your files isn’t a thorough form of protection against ransomware attacks, and while important, it should not be the only protection that you consider for your confidential files and data (and even those that are not confidential).

security-265130_960_720Ensure You Have Good Access Control

Having good access control is exceptionally important, as it can help to limit the extent of any data encryption to just the owner of the infected data. If you have shared network drives, then consider evaluating any permissions that your employees have. This is particularly important when it comes to preventing ransomware, as it can prevent it spreading to both mapped and unmapped drives. If you have system operators or administrators that have high levels of access, then they should ensure that their email and web browsing accounts are not linked to any admin accounts that can provide an access gateway to the entire system.

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Sophie Brannon

With a background in multimedia and music journalism, Sophie’s writing is as rich and varied as her iTunes library. While her passion for writing led her to seek the challenges of writing for a broad range of industries, Sophie continues to refine her skills with her camera in hand. Whether that’s pursuing her travel journalism or interviewing bands at festivals and awards, Sophie’s musings can be found across the web. When Sophie isn’t behind a keyboard, she can often be found jetting off around the world, or cuddling her collection of pet reptiles.

Email s.brannon@absolutedigitalmedia.com

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