Friday, 12 May 2017 will go down as one of the biggest global cyber-attacks in history, hitting 150 countries, bringing factories, hospitals and shops to a standstill. But it wasn’t just IT professionals left scratching their heads. Terms such as ‘ransomware’ have left a lot of us confused.
Ransomware is malicious software used to block access to a computer until the user agrees to pay a ransom. Experts say it is one of the fastest growing forms of computer virus and one which caused global mayhem on Friday, 12 May 2017.
The ransomware that hit the NHS in England and Scotland, known as ‘Wanna Decryptor’ or ‘WannaCry’, reportedly infected 200,000 computers in 150 countries. It is understood that the computers that were affected were using an older Microsoft Windows operating system and therefore vulnerable to attack.
Cyber criminals have been quick to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet, particularly the growth in e-commerce and online banking. These specialist criminal groups target individuals, small businesses and large corporate networks to steal personal information in bulk in order to profit from the compromised data available to them.
What are the common cyber threats for you to look out for?
- Phishing – these are bogus emails asking for security information and personal details;
- Webcam manager – criminals takeover your webcam;
- File hijacker – criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom;
- Keylogging – criminals record what you type on your keyboard such as online banking passwords;
- Screenshot manager – this allows criminals to take screenshots of your computer screen;
- Ad clicker – this allows a criminal to direct a victim’s computer to click a specific link.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks.
What to do in the event of a cyber-attack?
Don’t panic. Isolate your machine. Take it off the network immediately, even if this means having to take a machine out of Wi-Fi range. Contact your IT support and/or report the attack to Action Fraud; the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre in the UK.
Cyber-attacks on individuals and businesses are on the increase. Here at Griffin Law we can help you protect your personal information and/or business data and advise you on what to do in the event of any breach of that personal information/data. If a cyber-attack is something you would like advice on and/or the concern of being targeted is keeping you up at night, Griffin Law provides prompt, astute and cost-effective advice to their clients, contact us today.
Article by Rico Dexiades, Solicitor, Griffin Law
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