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Cyber Crime: WannaCry Screams the Need to Protect Against Ransomware

Cyber Crime: WannaCry Screams the Need to Protect Against RansomwareRansomware as a threat has been on the scene for a while, but it’s increasingly rising and widespread. Take a look at WannaCry, the recent ransomware that affected more than 200,000 computer systems in more than 150 countries and crippled transportation and hospitals globally. The majority affected were Windows-based computers that were not updated with a recently available and easily deployed patch.

Ransomware is a type of malware that, upon infecting a device, blocks access to it or to some or all of the information stored on it. In order to unlock either the device or the data, the user is required to pay a ransom. The criminals provide step-by-step instructions on how to pay, sometimes even offering a help line for victims unsure how to purchase bitcoin, a digital payment system. The price is designed to be cheap enough for people to pay instead of giving up: sometimes a few hundred dollars.

On the heels of WannaCry, new strains of ransomware are already surfacing.  In fact, the FBI has stated that ransomware threats will unfortunately continue to become evermore prevalent, especially for both large and small businesses.

What can you to protect your company against ransomware?

  • Educate and remind employees not to click on suspicious links or attachments on web pages, in chat messages, and in emails – particularly when the sender is unfamiliar. If the email is from a trusted sender, recommend that employees analyze the wording to make sure it’s not suspicious or full of errors. Often fake emails have incorrect spelling or strange subject matter.
  • Install anti-malware software. Ensure that a reputable anti-malware software is installed across all of your company servers, computers, and any other piece of the IT stack.
  • Never assume that your current antivirus software provides protection against ransomware, as it could be an outdated version that doesn’t offer ransomware blocking. Vet the information provided about your product to see if it’s listed among the features. If not, install a dedicated anti-ransomware program immediately.
  • Regularly update company-wide servers and Windows systems with the latest security patches, which is key to thwarting the threat of ransomware attacks. IT users and businesses alike should consistently patch their machines with updates from Microsoft, especially those who are using older versions of the operating system. Patching is ultimately the best remedy against ransomware attacks like WannaCry, as it targets the root of the vulnerability.
  • Back-up constantly. To ensure that sensitive, company confidential or any important files are safe should a company become infected by ransomware, securely back them up to a remote, unconnected backup or storage facility on a regular basis. Periodically test these backups to make sure your data is safe.

Insure against ransomware

Ransomware can be covered under a customized Cyber Liability policy to include defense and indemnity costs for cyber extortion. Some policies offer coverage as a sublimit while others may even offer full policy limits for ransomware/cyber extortion. It’s important to have an insurance professional review what limits are available and the policy deductible. Also, be sure to review the policy language as it differs from one form to another and among insurers. In addition, look at the potential of lost income while the system is held hostage and what time deductibles exist on the business interruption portion of coverage in a Cyber policy. It’s also important to review how extortion is defined in the policy and to follow any policy requirements for coverage to take effect.

Axis Insurance Services specializes in offering Cyber Liability/Network Security & Privacy insurance and is happy to review the various policies available and how we can tailor them to best suit your firm’s unique risk profile. For more information about our Cyber insurance solutions, give us a call at (877) 787-5258.

Sources: Washington Post, Wired, Huffington Post

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Blogged on: June 12, 2017 by Mike Smith

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