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Worried about the latest ransomware attack? Here’s what you need to know

“Beware of ransomware cyberattack in SA”

“SA affected in global cyberattack”

“The biggest cyberattack in history”


These are actual news headlines taken from the South African media recently. Labelled the largest ransomware infection in history, WannaCry – or WannaCrypt, as it’s also know – hit schools, hospitals, and businesses in more than 100 countries around the world last week. Multinational courier FedEx was among the victims along with the British National Health System.

Ransomware is very real, and now considered a major cyber threat to South African businesses.

How do you protect your business?

There is no quick fix to preventing a ransomware cyberattack. The best advice is to adopt a multipronged approach that offers broad-scale data protection and back-up.

Follow these tips to get started:

  • Be proactive. Accept that ransomware and other malware are legitimate threats that can strike your business at any time, and take the necessary steps to guard against them. Thinking these cyberattacks only affect ‘other businesses’ is imprudent.
  • Put adequate IT security measures in place. Get the very best IT protection you can afford. Remember, the cost of replacing lost or stolen data is always more than the cost of good security. Ensure you protect both the data on your network as well as the data stored on individual computers.
  • Backup, backup, backup! It’s critical that all your data is backed up and, perhaps more importantly, stored off-site. The expertise demonstrated by the latest attacks reveals that ransomware can sometimes infiltrate backup drives that are attached to the network.
  • Educate employees. Educate staff members about malware threats, and make it your company practice that staff do not open attachments or links from unknown sources. However, be warned that hackers do sometimes spoof names from contact lists, making the mail seem legitimate. Suspicious emails should be immediately deleted; advise staff to never respond to them.

What should you do if you are attacked?

  • If a staff member falls for an attacker’s bait and your computers get locked down by ransomware, there are a few critical steps that should be taken immediately:
  • Disconnect all computers from the internet
  • Switch off all computers and devices that are attached to the network
  • Call your IT vendor for assistance
  • The issue of paying the ransom demanded by attackers – which in South Africa is anything from R4 000 to R8 000 – is a contentious one, as you could pay the money but never retrieve your data.

Sadly, businesses like yours are at the complete mercy of the attackers, and there is no guarantee you will ever get your data back.

If this all sounds too overwhelming, let us take care of your IT security needs.

Winstel has more than 15 years’ experience at the frontline dealing with IT security. Our cutting-edge threat-detection products, like Sophos Intercept X, are proven to offer among the best anti-ransomware protection available, protecting your business against the very latest threats, and keeping your users and your data safe.

To ensure your company is fully protected, contact us on 086 181 9300 or email info@winstel.co.za

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