Recent ransomware attacks should serve as warning to local businesses

A new artifact Ransomware dubbed ‘Petya’ or ‘NotPetya’ or ‘GoldenEye’ has started wreaking havoc on bank and government systems in Ukraine, Russia, France and Spain, affecting public and private institutions around the globe. Companies affected are reported to be high-profile victims like Danish shipping giant Maersk, U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck and more.

This threat is heading to our shores in the U.S., and it is vital that you protect your systems from these sorts of targeted attacks.

Here are five ways you can protect your personal information and your company’s information:

1. Anti-virus software
Install a quality anti-virus/anti-malware solution on all your systems and keep it updated. This involves installing up-to-date anti-virus definitions on all critical systems. If you have a corporate network, ensure that you have a centrally-managed virus protection.

2. Backup critical systems
Perform regular backups of critical systems storing the data in a secure offsite location. Having backups to your data means not having to pay the ransom to get your data back. Verify that your backup can be restored successfully on a regular basis.

3. Open email with caution
Use due diligence when clicking on e-mails or attachments as well as links. One of the bigger attack vectors for receiving a ransomware infection is by clicking on a link in an e-mail or an attachment. If you suspect something as not being legit, do not open it and contact your support team.

4. Update patches
Patch all your affected systems with regularity, including third-party apps like Java and Flash. Patching systems on a regular interval is vital to ensuring you are not susceptible to attack. Patch your systems as often as production allows to ensure that you have the best defensive posture.

5. Isolate compromised systems
To prevent the spread of Malware, if a system is suspected as infected, isolate it immediately. If a computer system reports the presence of malware, disconnect the system from the network as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of the infection. Finally, wipe the system’s hard drive completely and restore the operating system before returning it the network.

This Tip of the Week was written by Josh McKinney of Edge Networks in Vancouver. He can be reached at

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