Since the global ransomware attack on thousands of private and public sector organisations last Friday, there have been no sustained, new attacks of that kind.

However, it’s important to understand that the way these attacks work means existing compromises within computer networks may not yet have been detected, and existing infections from the malware could therefore continue to spread.

How can my social enterprise guard against ransomware?

Thanks to broad government and partner efforts, a variety of tools are now publicly available to help organisations protect themselves agains ransomware.  The guidance can be found on the government’s National Cyber Security Centre website: Protecting Your Organisation From Ransomware.

It’s possible that a ransomware attack of this kind and scale could reoccur, although we have no specific evidence that this might be the case.  What is certain is that ransomware attacks are some of the most immediately damaging forms of cyber crime that affect home users, social enterprises and governments equally.

However, it’s also the case that there are a number of easy-to-implement defences against ransomware which considerably reduce the risk and impact of future attacks (click here for further information).

Six simple steps social enterprises can undertake to minimise the risk of ransomeware attacks are as follows:

  1. Keep your organisation’s security software patches up-to-date.
  2. Use proper anti-virus software.
  3. Make sure your AntiVirus product is up-to-date and run a scan. If you don’t have any installed, try one of the free trial versions from a reputable vendor.
  4. Most importantly for ransomware, back up the data that matters to you, because you can’t be held to ransom for data that is duplicated elsewhere and within your possession.
  5. Regularly run Windows Update or turn on automatic operating system updates.

We would like to reassure the public that the government, law enforcement and public and private sector organisations are working together to minimise further disruption from the recent ransomware attack and to increase protection against any further attacks in the coming days. The UK’s security and law enforcement agencies are also working around the clock to protect the public.

Private sector efforts have already made a very significant contribution to mitigate the cyber-attacks experienced so far and to prevent further disruption, but as the advice above demonstrates, there’s an awful lot you can do yourself to remain vigilant.

Download our ransomware guide for social enterprises (PDF)