If you’re casually reading this email from a laptop or desktop PC with warm coffee/tea in hand, congratulations – you have survived what many small business leaders across this nation have dreaded all weekend. The ‘WannaCry” Malware Attack.

Since Friday, reputable media outlets (no fake news here) has reported a sweeping malware attack has hit at least 150 countries and infected 200,000 machines, according to the European law enforcement agency Europol. (Europol is an integrated European Union crime fighting agency!)

“Oh, Europe,” you dismissively think. “Sounds like a foreign (Non American) problem.”

Wrong.

A Brown Public Relations team member received a text message on Friday afternoon from a sibling who is a FedEx (corporate) employee.

This day couldn’t get any better,” the message sarcastically reads. “We received a company text message directing everyone to log off their company system, go home, and not access any company system until they tell us otherwise. I have so much work to do and was hoping to get ahead of a few deadlines. Ugh…so inconvenient.”

What is “WannaCry”?

The WannaCry worm locks users out of their computers and demands that victims pay hundreds of dollars to regain control of their information, using a digital, global currency called BitCoin.

The malware does not appear only through clicked emails from fake or unknown sources. Apparently, the malware (worm) scours the internet looking for vulnerable computers and does not “feed” off a user clicking on a “phishing” email.

Brown Public Relations is a full-service agency which applies our expertise in Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising to the digital landscape. Many of our clients do not employ dedicated IT Managers tasked with keeping the organization’s tech infrastructure up-to-date.

Here are a few things you should do TODAY to minimize a potential crisis in your business- and your life (dramatic huh?) :

STOP. SHUTDOWN. UPDATE. Microsoft has included a security patch for Windows 10 Users, which should automatically update your organization’s computers. For Microsoft (Windows) users who are using a Server 2003, or Windows XP, Windows 8, or Windows 7 operating systems, Microsoft may not be offering mainstream support for your operating system. This means the security updates areĀ  not automatically applied to your system. Download the Security Updates from Microsoft here

CALL A MECHANIC. Yes, we all know how to download software and employ the ‘SetUp Wizard’ but this does not make us MIT grads. At least twice a year, a small business owner or organization (let’s say less than 50 employees) should have a professional “computer guy” to update, evaluate and review all devices connected to the internet used to conduct or gain access to your business. We’re talking phones/smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and other wi-fi enabled devices.

CALL YOUR MOTHER. Yes, Mother’s Day was yesterday. We know. Though our world of work has been significantly enhanced by electronic capabilities such as text, emails, emojis, GIFs, social media, this recent round of cyberattack is a reminder that sometimes we need to go back to ‘natural’ forms of communication.

Once you’ve installed the security patch and shutdown your computer, give the “computer guy” or GeekSquad a call.

Then, when your update/appointment is made – restart your computer and phone home.

Now. Have a productive day.

Comments are closed.