Ascentant Blog
Ransomware attack – How to protect your IT system

You are likely to have heard of the ransomware attacks that have affected hundreds of thousands of computers around the world, including our own NHS. The risk from ransomware, such as the one utilised in the Friday cyber-attacks known as WannaCry, and other malware is very real and you should be taking full notice of it and what you can do to prevent it. It’s only just happened and it can happen again at any time.

There is a multitude of things you can do to help stop these attacks from happening in the first place or trying to minimise the damage in case you do find yourself in such a predicament. The first thing to say is if you do find you have been the victim of an attack we would strongly recommend visiting the The National Cyber Security Centre webpage which can offer advice on what to do in event of this.

What can I do to respond to Wannacry?

What you can do right now to try to prevent an attack and minimise damage on your systems is simple and is as follows:

  • Make sure all software is up to date with its latest security patches
  • Ensure you have a fully working firewall, Windows firewall would be sufficient on personal computers
  • Have a fully working, up to date anti-virus system in place
  • Keep Windows, or your preferred OS, fully up to date and make sure you’re on a still supported version (list of supported versions here)
  • Keep a backup of all your important files or your entire system, if you do end up infected a backup can ensure you don’t lose any important data

What else should I do to protect my IT system?

If you follow through on these steps you should be in a much safer position with IT than you were previously. To really be secure and protect from more than just ransomware there is a few more things you should make sure you’re doing:

  • Keep passwords secure, never share them with anyone and ensure that it’s a complex password consisting of letters, numbers and symbols
  • Have different passwords for different accounts, in case a password does get stolen you minimise the damage that can be caused by having multiple different passwords
  • Do not open potentially dangerous emails or links, if an email looks to be fake (look out for things such as incorrect personal details and poor English) then do not open it, just delete it and be safe
  • Do not visit potentially harmful websites, if there is a lot of adverts or links all over the page it could be risky
  • Do not download anything you aren’t 100% confident in
  • Do regular scans of your computer using a trusted anti-virus program

If you follow all these steps you are likely to be pull through any security threats you see in the news, if you’re unsure of anything listed here or you would like any additional advice please feel free to contact Ascentant on 01332 897356 or