“Never before have so few, stole so much, from so many that the many fail to see a problem!”
I got a phone call from a mate the other day wanting some advice.
My mate is attached to a not for profit organisation that has a number of self-managed branches all over Australia.
His question was “what do you know about ransomware?”
My immediate response to that was “why, it hasn’t happened to you, has it?”
It turns out that one of the branches of his NFP organisation had been targeted through a phishing email and one of the volunteers had opened it. Not realising what they had done, it had also been left to encrypt over the weekend. ALL of their data was now encrypted.
My first response – restore from backup, clean the virus or better still rebuild the infected computer, and educate the users. In that order!
I knew a forensic investigation was not going to tell us much!
But, wait there is more!
No we did not have end point protection installed on any computers or servers and when the incumbent IT Company (WTF) looked at the backup, they had not had a successful backup since 3 1/2 weeks prior.
The incumbent and external IT Company had not been seen on site in more than 12 months. There was no reporting, no management and no proactivity.
All they had was a help desk and when that was needed it all turned to crud.
This scenario happens every minute of every day.
Often, we do not see the problems that the digital world creates, so like the ostrich, we hide from the repercussions in the hope that it will not happen to us.
This really is a bad attitude, both as an individual, but more importantly as an organisation.
No one is immune, there is no vaccine, everyone can be targeted and more importantly, being attached to the internet, everyone is.
The criminals are persistent, uncaring and, although we do not give them credit, most importantly clever. They patiently wait for anyone and everyone to make a mistake and they capitalise on that mistake.
Just think of this – if we had no important data worth stealing (or encrypting) then ransomware would not be a 5 billion dollar industry.
The most important things to do – personally and as a business:
- Trust no one
- Be paranoid
- Use common sense
- Have a tested backup
- Use antivirus
- Get a decent firewall
- Patch it all
- Audit and report
Try this little experiment – how long can you use a new computer before you realise that you need access to some old information. If it’s not very long then you need to protect yourself from ransomware.
In addition I sent them this link – to see how mature their organisation is and it was completed by the IT person and they got a 1.7. If it was at this maturity level, they would not have had the significant problem that they had.
I guarantee that if it was completed by management or a member of the board they would have got below 0.5.
Try it and see! http://business-security.com.au/go/audit/
Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity), Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and the SME Digital Security Framework. Rapid Restart Appliance Creator. He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and Educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world.