In the wake of the infamous WannaCry malware which infected over a quarter million systems in over 150 countries, we’ve had a lot of calls from our clients concerned about whether or not they were protected.  This latest cyber-attack, based on the EternalBlue tool leaked from the NSA, interrupted services for organizations such as FedEx,  Telefonica, and Deutsche Bahn.

The short answer for all our clients who are using our Security Essentials or Complete Care program is “yes, you are protected.”  But our focus isn’t what is being discussed on CNN or across the internet now.  For most, by the time it gets reported it’s too late.  Our concern is protecting our clients from what hasn’t yet been discovered.  In order to achieve that goal, we use layers of IT protection that go further into blocking access to these threats before they reach our clients.

Patching the Operating System

What is the most effective tool in stopping the spread of this particular strain of malicious software?  Simply patching the known security vulnerabilities of the operating system makes this easily preventable with a modicum of effort.  It’s astounding how many organizations have the mentality of “if it works, leave it alone”.  The thought around all IT security should be “what can go wrong?”  Keeping operating systems and applications patched is the most important step in preventing a security breach.

Web & Email Content Filtering

In my opinion, the second most important layer is a reputation based content filter.  Many of these infections are transmitted by unknown or disreputable sites. Without an automated filter to block such sites, the most common means of infection is users clicking on a link in a phishing email or opening infected attachments.

Centrally Monitored & Managed Antivirus

The third layer we use is the one that I find many users believe is the only layer they need:  Antivirus.  The almighty antivirus is expected to protect the PC from any and all threats.  But, while a good antivirus will act like the lock on your front door, it won’t prevent a good burglar from coming in the side window and unlocking the door from the inside.  Also, crucial to this layer is ensuring the antivirus gets the necessary level of attention it needs to keep it working correctly and responding to security threats. So, who is updating and fixing patches for your antivirus?

End User Security Training & Testing

Making sure that all your users have been trained on how to spot a phishing attempt can also dramatically reduce the risk of this popular method of malware.  Since more than 50% of security breaches start with an email, closing this security gap makes sense.  Having an official training program in place for this is becoming a prerequisite to qualify for most cybersecurity insurance policies.

Security Vulnerability Audit

Although implementing the prior list of protections will go a long way in protecting your network by reducing exposure, an occasional full security vulnerability audit is also a good practice.  Most patch management services generally cover the operating system and a few common internet tools like browsers and their add-ons.

With the emerging IoT (Internet of Things) more and more devices that used to be dumb are now Internet-enabled, making them a target for attacks.  Last October’s big DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks were made possible due to a security issue in a particular line of security cameras.  A thorough vulnerability scan can discover risks that your printers, switches, phones & cameras may be creating on your network.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Regardless of how many security tools you implement, there will always be someone, somewhere in the world, working to subvert them.  As the last line of defense, the backup is always crucial to guarding against cyber threats, especially ransomware.  Make sure you have a discussion with your IT provider about the appropriate level of protection for your organization.

-Cameron Rowe, CEO CRC Data Technologies

If you have any questions about whether you have the protections or how to implement them, call our team right away at (850) 426-4370.