WannaCry Global Cyber Attack – How Vulnerable is Australia?

By now you’ve probably heard at least something about the global cyber-attack underway since Friday the 12th, 2017. The attack affected more than 200,000 organisations globally including 47 NHS (National Health Service) trusts in UK. The attack lead into cancellation of various operations and patients were turned away from A&E.

wannacry ransomware

The attack was carried out using a ransomware called “WannaCry”. It is believed a cyber-security expert managed to stop the attack by setting up a “Kill Switch” on Saturday but seems like it has continued to wreak havoc.

What you need to know about ransomware?

The word “ransom” explains a lot about the term and you can easily understand the intention of such an attack. These attack involves hackers taking full control of a computer and blocking access to files, folders or in some cases the entire system until a ransom is paid.

Just like any other malware attack, ransomwares are also carried out by downloading a malicious software onto a computer within a network. Either get the victims click on a link or download a file intentionally or sometimes without user knowledge.

Once the software is active on a victim’s computer, cyber criminals launch the attack and lock all files it can find within a network. The process is gradual with files being encrypted on after another.

Large companies and corporations with highly trained security professionals and software have the ability to spot this encryption. Once spotted, the attack can be minimized by isolating documents and files. But for small companies and individuals, it is semi-impossible to identify and may end up locked out of their computers and all the data.

The most common form of this attack leaves a dialogue box or a black screen with a demand for payment in return for unlocking the files. The ransom is normally taken in the form of bitcoin, the online cryptocurrency.

what is a ransomware

Cyber Crime in Australia

At this stage, it does seem like that we have missed the major impact of this ransomware incident” said Australian Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan. He also added, this attack is a good reminder for small and large Australian businesses to take all the necessary measures to protect against all sorts of cybercrimes.

People have to be aware that the impact of ransomware at the moment on the Australian economy each year we estimate conservatively at around a billion dollars,” he said.

According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre

Between July 2015 and June 2016, CERT Australia responded to 14,804 cyber security incidents affecting Australian businesses, 418 of which involved systems of national interest (SNI) and critical infrastructure (CI).

What makes small businesses vulnerable to cybercrime?

Prevention is better than cure. Of all the cybercrimes reported, 98% of them result as a lack of protective measures and awareness. Small and medium enterprises often seek to save money by not updating their technology, maintaining firewalls, virus protection and security system.

According the New South Wales Small Business Commissioner, The Sensis e-Business Report 2014 reported that of the 1800 small and medium businesses surveyed:

  • 98% of businesses owned a computer.
  • 95% of businesses were connected to the internet.
  • 76% owned smart phones.
  • 52% owned tablets.
  • 66% of businesses had a website.
  • 78% of businesses reported purchasing online.
  • 39% of businesses use social media.

The Australian Institute of Criminology recommends that small businesses do the following to enhance their safety and security:

  • Use strong and different passwords for every account. Keep business and private accounts separate
  • Backup your data or have auto-backups in place.
  • Store backed up data off site and check the data restore periodically.
  • Keep technology up to dated
  • Have antivirus software with software patches and updates
  • Be conscious of the personal information shared online.
  • Know where cloud-based data is stored

Sometimes even after taking all the necessary measures, you still find yourself bullied by local and international cyber criminals. Emailing and internet banking are among the basic necessities of modern day businesses. Willingly or unintentionally, you may click or download programs containing malwares and viruses.

Call 1300 66 55 84 and get a free consultation of cybersecurity. Learn more about our cyber security services and how we can keep your system protected against all sorts of cyber threats.