Cyber crime

With recent high profile cyber-attacks, like the one which disabled the NHS and hit 150 countries, more and more companies are looking at their own protection and asking: is it enough? Here, Business East Sussex looks at what businesses can do to limit their risks in the event of such an attack.

It was the ransomware attack that brought the NHS to its knees.

The virus exploits a flaw in Microsoft Windows identified by, and stolen from, US intelligence.

But, if you keep your systems up-to-date, you should be safer than those that don’t.

Recent visitors to our Cyber Attack event in Crowborough were told first-hand how ransomware can take over your computer, lock your systems and demand you make a payment… the ‘ransom’, to release your files. They also learnt how to limit the risk of falling victim to such an assault.

Microsoft says it released a Windows security update in March to tackle the problem involved in the latest attack, but many users were yet to run it.

There are a number of easy-to-implement defences against ransomware which very considerably reduce the risk of attack and the impact of successful attacks.

Protect

Unfortunately, these simple steps to protect against ransomware are not being applied by either the public or organisations as thoroughly as they should be. These are:

  1. Keep your organisation’s security software patches up to date
  2. Use proper anti-virus software services
  3. Most importantly for ransomware, back up the data that matters to you, because you can’t be held to ransom for data you hold somewhere else.

Home users and small businesses can take the following steps to protect themselves:

  1. Run Windows Update
  2. Make sure your AntiVirus product is up to date and run a scan – If you don’t have one install one of the free trial versions from a reputable vendor
  3. If you have not done so before, this is a good time to think about backing important data up – You can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.

You can also download the latest security updates for a host of Windows’ products here:

Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64, Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86, Windows XP SP2 x64, Windows XP SP3 x86, Windows XP Embedded SP3 x86, Windows 8 x86, and Windows 8 x64.

As Ian Smallwood, Head of Business Services of Business East Sussex, explains: “We’re here to help businesses with whatever they need and that does not always mean financial support.

“In 2017 it has become increasingly apparent that this means helping SMEs with their cyber security and IT infrastructure. That’s why we have held an event on cyber security this year with an IT expert and it’s why we’re holding an event on cloud computing  in conjunction with Microsoft and Sussex firm Astec Computing.”

The event, which will take place 9.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday, 24 May at Business at Ocean House, St Leonards-on-Sea, is aimed at managing directors and financial directors.

To express an interest in attending this exclusive event, businesses should visit: https://bes-powerofthecloud.eventbrite.co.uk