What Is the Next WannaCry?

When ransomware attacks like the recent WannaCry and NotPetya happened, suddenly IT security became a top priority within organisations.  Why these attacks are headlines news? Because, the companies were not prepared. This triggered a question within the stakeholders will there be more attacks?

Anytime such an attack occurs, there will be plenty of experts happy to share their thoughts and predictions about the next big attack. This article is not about predicting the next attack because one can never know what the next attack will be.  The so called experts share their advice based on calculated guesses or analysing past and upcoming softwares trends that may increase the possibility of another attack. The truth is though, that all these predictions and assumptions tend to be just that: Assumptions not factual.

The WannaCry ransomware is a fascinating example of up expected attack. First, it didn’t spread from insufficient security measures per se, but it utilised a glitch in Microsoft. Secondly, Microsoft had released an update with a patch, but far too many organisations had simply failed to update in time. Thirdly, the glitch had been known for some time, yet somehow, people were surprised when it resulted in an attack.

So, what can we learn from it? Due to human error a bug in a code will occasionally find its way into the final version and people will oversee necessary simple processes like updating software regularly. That brings us to the next question: what can we do about it?

Plan and Practice It

It’s known that humans are the weakest link of any information security system and to some extent, that’s true. Humans can be forgetful and tend to procrastinate on tasks they feel doesn’t require an immediate attention.  However, it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right awareness training employees will learn and will be part of the organisations overall security strategy or plan. Once the employees know how vital their co-operation is and what steps they need to take to help establish safer processes, cyber security becomes part of the organisational culture and not just something foreseen as a responsibility of the IT department.

Lastly, when an organisation gets hit by a cyber-attack and that is a matter of when, not if.  It’s imperative to have the right Business Continuity Plans in place. View it as something that will show you how to prepare for and deal with an emergency should one arise.

The truth about Business Continuity planning is that an organisation should be able to continue its operations during a disruption or have a contingency plan to recover their core services while ensuring minimal damage to company’s reputation or market position whilst satisfying legal and regulatory obligations.

In current situation, no organisation can afford to be without a comprehensive, documented and fully integrated Business Continuity Continuity  plan.  The company and its stakeholders must consider the risks faced by the organisation, the impacts arising if risks are realised; it must ensure, through formal testing and documenting that everyone in the organisation knows what is expected of them and has confidence that the plans will deliver in the event of a disruption.

By Harshini Carey, Regional Director, Neupart


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