Keep your payroll data safe against Ransomware

Ransomware, like the name suggests, is when your files are held for ransom. It is a type of malware that essentially takes over a computer and prevents users from accessing their data until such time as a ransom is paid. The ransomware encrypts data on the computer using an encryption key that only the attacker knows. If you want to decrypt them, you have to pay. If the ransom isn’t paid, the data is often lost forever.

Think before you click

It is important to look for malicious email messages that are often concealed as emails from companies or people you regularly interact with online. It is important to avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in those messages, since they could unleash malware. However, unlike many other malicious programs, WannaCry has the ability to move around a network by itself. Once the virus is inside an organisations, it will hunt down vulnerable machines and infect them too.

Keep software up to date

Users should ensure that security updates are installed on their computer as soon as they are released. Last month, the NSA revealed software vulnerabilities in a Windows Server component which allows files to spread within corporate networks. Since then, Microsoft has released software patches for the security holes. Anyone who applied this patch more than likely was not affected by WannaCry. However, not everyone has installed these updates and so these users are susceptible to an attack. It is also important to note that the vulnerability does not exist within Windows 10, but is present in all versions of Windows prior to that, dating back to Windows XP. Support for Windows XP was discontinued in 2014, and so if you are using XP it is recommended to upgrade to a more secure system. It is important to keep all software packages up to date to maximise protection against attacks.

Keep backups of data file

Users should regularly back up their data, which will make it possible to restore files without paying a ransom. This can be done by saving files to a USB key, external server or a cloud sharing facility such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Individual software packages may also offer a backup facility.


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