ORGANISATIONS at risk of hackers locking their critical data and holding it to ransom can take short steps to safeguard their information.
Nigel Taylor, managing director of Fareham-based Taylor Made Computer Solutions, has spoken out to give advice in the wake of the massive cyber attack on the NHS earlier this month.
The worldwide problem crippled hundreds of organisations as ransomware infiltrated global networks.
Mr Taylor said: ‘The headlines created by the NHS attack have, without doubt, opened people’s eyes to the very real risks of cyber crime. For such a huge national organisation to be hit highlights the fact that the threat is very real.
‘It wasn’t just the NHS that was a target either – the WannaCry malware has infected hundreds of thousands of computers all over the world in 150 countries. Other big organisations have been hit, including FedEx and Renault.
‘It affected business more than individuals because it got in through a vulnerability in Windows that most home users will have patched, or will not be at risk from anyway.’
The virus was ransomware, which locked people’s computers and demanded cash.
Mr Taylor added: ‘For those that have been affected, the advice is first of all to keep calm. The nature of the cyber attack is to render information inaccessible by encrypting or obscuring the data.
‘Once the process has started the only focus is to identify the source and stop it spreading further. Secondly, once the ransomware is identified turn off the computer to prevent further spread. Third on the list of priorities is to begin the restore process.’
He said firms should also stop incoming emails when attacked. And he said IT should be understood at a board level, with staff trained to spot warning signs.