Ransomware Update: What is the Impact?

Blog Author Aaron Robel

Written by: Aaron Robel, VP of Information Security

Published: January 12, 2016

Found in: Services

Media coverage of Ransomware attacks on organizations can be concerning. You may have heard about the latest incident being reported that  involves an attack in multiple countries called WannaCry. The virus encrypts files on computers and spreads to other computers on the network, demanding a ransom to regain access. Remember, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of being infected that involve simple computer maintenance. And rest assured, WSECU remains vigilant.

The following is a blog we posted in 2016 that explains Ransomware, what steps WSECU has implemented and what steps you can take.

First of all, what is Ransomware?

Quite simply, Ransomware is malicious software that denies you access to your computer or files until you pay a ransom.  Here are a couple of common types:  One style which is most common encrypts files such as all the files in your 'My Documents' folder.  These files are encrypted and rendered inaccessible.  A document is left behind for the victim that includes details on how to pay to get the key to unlock the encryption.  Another style will 'lock' the screen and demand payment.  In this instance your computer is locked from your use with the a full screen image that provides details on how to pay to unlock the screen.

From a member data perspective the risk of the Ransomware threat having an impact is very low. At WSECU we recognize the nature and severity of this threat and have many layers of control to keep the risk low.

Proactive Controls:
    • Restricted employee access controls
    • Advanced endpoint security
    • Internet access filtering
    • A mature software patching program

Reactive Controls:
      • Advanced malware detection and alerting
      • A tested Cyber Incident Response Plan.
      • Dedicated security staff monitoring for anomalies and attacks
      • Resilient backup strategies to minimize damage 

Additional Information

Ransomware is also a large threat to the home user. Here are some tips to lower the risk in your household:

          1. Turn on automatic updates for Microsoft, flash and Java
          2. Install Anti-Virus software and keep it updated  
          3. Avoiding clicking links or opening attachments in emails that you weren't expecting  
          4. Avoid going to suspicious websites or clicking links provided through social media  
          5. Back up your data to an external hard drive.  Perform this backup any time there are significant changes, pictures, files, or sensitive documents that you need to keep.  
          6. Don't pay the Ransom!

Aaron Robel