WannaCry: Don’t Let It Make You Cry
The recent threat of the WannaCry ransomware virus has been all over the news. It’s been fairly devastating, but the irony is, it could have been worse. The ransomware was one developed as a tool to combat criminals online. Several months ago, it made it out into the wild after the NSA itself was compromised. The reason the threat could have been much worse is because when the breach was made public, Microsoft immediately took steps to patch the vulnerability.
Even so, many people around the world were still infected with WannaCry, simply because they didn’t have the patch downloaded and installed. Small businesses were no exception and were especially hard hit. Too often, small businesses rely on small IT firms or hire on single IT techs to come in and manually perform patches of their systems, and some business owners even opt out of having patches installed, citing them as an inconvenience to their business operations. The irony of this isn’t lost on hackers and cybercriminals, who seek to take advantage, and use tools like WannaCry. They take advantage of the unwillingness of some businesses to regularly update their systems or that choose not to have firewalls, antivirus, and other security measures in place, hit them with WannaCry or any other form of ransomware, hold their files hostage, and milk them for all they’re worth.
Too often, the businesses rely on the honesty of these criminals to live up to their word when the ransom is paid, only to discover in a majority of cases that the criminals simply abscond with their money, and the business has nothing to show for it. That, or the criminals suddenly increase the ransom out of the clear blue sky, leaving the business in an even more precarious position, since most small businesses don’t have a lot of money readily available in their bank accounts to pay an online ransom. And all this, because they felt that patching their computers was an inconvenience.
So the lesson for this, if anything, is that as much of an inconvenience it may be to have your systems updated, it is still far better to do so than to have a proverbial gun to your head and be robbed blind by an anonymous criminal somewhere in the world.