This weekend, ‘WannaCry’, a malware computer virus used to hack business and personal computers, has been identified at least 150 countries and has infected 200,000 machines, according to Europol.

Once a user realizes the virus has taken over the computer, a message displays to inform the user that all files are being held for ransom until a payment is made in Bitcoin.

Cyber-security companies encourage consumers never to pay the ransom, as this does not ensure files are relinquished without being compromised. Paying the ransom also funds criminal activity across the globe.

Business owners and organization leaders would do well to consider how any type of virus or malware attack on computer systems could cause a crisis situation in your businesses. A crisis meaning any type of activity that has a negative impact on an organization’s:

A. Reputation/Trust

B. Financial Standing

C. Ability to Recruit/Retain Qualified Human Personnel

D. Jeopardizes Quality of Life, Health, Welfare of Clients/Patients

Service Businesses

If your organization offers a service to the public, especially healthcare, finance, education, or lifestyle, an inability to access records could cause harm to the clients/patients you serve. Their personal information and private preferences could be at jeopardy.

Civic, Municipalities, Government Agencies

These organizations are targets for cyber-criminal activity. Remember, cyber attacks use the threat of disruption to intimidate or force companies (and individuals) to pay ransoms in releasing their information. They do this under the very rational threat of disaster and disruption of services which could overwhelm systems that communities are overly reliant upon.

Brown PR encourages every business or organization to develop a “One-Sheet” document that at least provides a general summary of WHO will be responsible and WHAT will be done in the event the organization’s electronic communications are hacked.

This document should be printed and included in a binder along with a “One-Sheet” document for: Fires, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Flood, Power-Outage, Earthquakes, or other threat-scenarios that could harm your organization.

Lacking an official Crisis Management Plan for your business or organization? Schedule your brief, over-the-phone “walk through” with Brown Public Relations at



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