SMEs urged to be vigilant following NHS cyber-attack

May 17, 2017 - 9:00am

SMEs urged to be vigilant following NHS cyber-attack

After last week’s ransomware attack on the NHS, businesses are being advised to exercise caution when it comes to cyber-security.

Now believed to have affected organisations in as many as 150 countries, the malware took over users’ files and demanded that a ransom of £230 be paid in order for access to be restored.

The attack took advantage of a flaw in Windows operating systems, which Microsoft have since provided a patch for. And although the malware was deactivated after the detection of its own programming error, the perpetrators of the attack remain unknown.

Commenting on the breach, MD of the IT support specialist Q2Q, Andrew Stellakis, said: “Whilst there’s no direct impact on previously unaffected SMEs, the national impact and attention from these events will no doubt spark an increase in the number of ‘copycat’ attacks. It’s likely that a variant of the malware will be released without the original flaw, which will mean computers that do not have the patch installed will remain vulnerable targets.

“I’d urge everyone to be aware of the risks surrounding emails, attachments and weblinks. I can’t stress enough how important it is to also stay on top of system and anti-virus updates to ensure their effectivity against such threats.”

Although such malicious software tends to be sent from unknown sources, emails containing the malware are often delivered under the guise of a trusted organisation or person – these are widely known as phishing scams.

“It’s vital that everyone remains vigilant at this time,” continued Andrew. “Being mindful of emails and attachments – from both known and unknown senders – is imperative to protecting your business from falling victim to an attack like this one.”

Further advice on avoiding a ransomware attack can be found in Q2Q’s FREE cyber-security guide.