Governments are scrambling to catch the culprits behind the cyberattacks that are disrupting operations at large organisation across the globe. Cyber security experts say the spread of the worm dubbed WannaCry locked up more than 200 000 computers in more than 150 countries.
Analysts seem to confirm that the attack was launched using suspected NSA code leaked by a group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers. It uses a variant of the ShadowBrokers APT EternalBlue Exploit. It uses strong encryption on files such as documents, images, and videos.
Local Acronis partner One Channel CEO Bernard Ford says the attack has slowed but warns that new versions of the worm will strike soon.
“Ransomware is the most serious malware threat of the 21st century, with criminals projected to extort billions from their victims in 2017.”
Thousands of computers worldwide, including British Hospitals and the Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica, were taken over by a piece of ransomware known as Wanacrypt0r 2.0. The ransomware encrypts all of the computer’s files and demands a ransom to decrypt the files.
A Telefonica spokesman said a window appeared on screens of infected computers that demanded payment with the digital currency bitcoin in order to regain access to files.
Ford says unlike many other malicious programs, this one has the ability to move around a network by itself. “Most other malware relies on humans to spread by tricking them into clicking on an attachment harbouring the attack code.”
Although system protection via a good End-Point Protection product is important, backup still remains the most effective tool against data loss. Creating a backup before disaster strikes, is much more efficient and cost effective than looking for a cure when data is lost. Affordable backup software is readily available, so there is no excuse for losing data or exposing it to cyber criminals and ransomware attacks.
“Always have a backup of your important data and choose backup software with local storage, cloud storage and active protection against ransomware. Also, keep your operating system and software up to date, it will block cyber criminals from entering your system through any known security holes,” he says.
However, malware attacks and defences against them are continually evolving, ransomware variants can find and attack backup files as well. Acronis has subsequently enhanced its backup solutions with innovative new anti-ransomware technology. Acronis Active Protection actively defends both user files and their backups by identifying and blocking ransomware attacks in real-time.
“Don’t become part of this statistic. With a few simple tricks and robust ransomware protection software from Acronis you can protect your valuable data in the most efficient and cost-effective way,” he concludes.