Ransomware marches on..

News and information from the Advent IM team.

The scourge of business, public sector and individuals, ransomware, shows no signs of abating and my heart sinks every time I see a headline where a vulnerability in an organsiation is exploited by this cynical malware. Most recently, students at a school in Plymouth, lost GCSE and and A level coursework after their school was infected by an as yet unnamed strain of ransomware.

Whilst the school highlighted the fact that financial or sensitive information had not been affected, as it is stored off site, this will be cold comfort to those students who have lost any work they stored solely on the school network after May 1. It seems safe to assume then, that student coursework is not backed up or protected in the same way that financial information is and so although there may not be a fine attached to the loss of this data and fee paying parents can be assured their financial data is safe, the information that is of paramount importance to the students, is vulnerable to attack. Determining the value of that information then was not considered from the student perspective…

This is something all educational facilities need to consider if they are offering students the facility to store their coursework in places on their own networks.

Top tips for Ransomware for ALL organisations (with thanks to blog by Julia McCarron)

Back up your data and store a copy off line and offsite

Separate sensitive and non sensitive (this may be where the plan failed with the school) you need to know what is valuable and to whom as well as sensitive. Its true that fines are attracted by personal information loss and reputational harm can come from financial infmroation loss, but was laid bare in this case, not all value is perceived the same way and just because the ICO can’t fine you for losing it, it may be valuable to someone…

Train your staff. They need to count to ten before they react to emails, know not to click on unexpected attachments or links and

Have a policy and plan so everyone knows how these events are handled in the advent someone makes an error.

Patch or replace You should be able apply security patches to all currently supported platforms and systems, so patch them. If you can’t they they may be an open door to criminals and you should replace as soon as feasible.


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