Your organisation is at risk of ransomware attack – here’s how to protect it

Untitled design 44 | Your organisation is at risk of ransomware attack – here's how to protect it
By Toby Lester | 20th January 2020 | 3 min read

Recent events have proved that ransomware attacks are indiscriminate, and anybody is a target. Travelex’s online sales have been completely crippled by a wide-scale attack, and even their brick and mortar and partner sales are heavily affected as their systems suffer.

If the Sodinokibi ransomware that targeted Travelex can cripple such a global giant with all its security acumen, it could happen to anyone.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a modern-day extortion tool. Once a system is infected with ransomware, it works behind the scenes to encrypt every file it can find and even exfiltrate precious data to an attacker. Once a system is fully encrypted, the ransomware will demand a ransom from the user for the decryption key.

Manually decrypting your files without the key isn’t an option, as it could take years to compute. Even if you were to pay the ransom – which isn’t advised by anti-ransomware organisations – there’s no guarantee that the attacker will decrypt your files, use exfiltrated data to extort you or even attack you again in the future.

Out-of-date software is a welcome mat

The recent Travelex attacks highlight the importance of keeping your software up to date. Reports indicate that hackers may have gained entry to the Travelex system off the back of unpatched VPN software. This software has had a security patch available to address this vulnerability since April last year; preventing the infection may have been as simple as updating company software.

Failing to patch out software vulnerabilities can damage your operations, the trust of your customers and staff, and even your organisation’s reputation.

The best defence against ransomware

Closer to home, we also know of a IRIS Financials customer who have recently sustained a ransomware attack. Their staff were forced to work on hired laptops for months while they addressed the issues, and they had to invest in building entirely new security systems to prevent it happening again.

The only aspect of their business that wasn’t affected by the attack was hosted in the cloud – their financial management system, IRIS Financials.

This corresponds to what has happened with Travelex – one anonymous employee told the BBC “The docs on my PC have all been encrypted by the hack, but the docs I stored on the cloud server have not.”

This is because cloud computing service providers can focus their efforts on keeping their software up to date and investing in security, so organisations don’t have to do this themselves. There’s no opportunity for staff to forget to update software packages and systems.

Cloud computing can safeguard your organisation

As in the case of our customer, moving mission-critical functions to the cloud can help to safeguard your organisation against the worst possibilities. Core systems such as financial management and payroll can be easily secured by migrating to a service like PS Cloud, our cloud-based administration software suite.

If you’re interested in protecting your organisation from ransomware and other serious digital threats, visit the PS Cloud website today to find out more about our service.