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EY recommends six immediate steps for organizations to protect themselves and reduce impact of ransomware attacks

Ransomware_WannaCry

►   Actions can help protect from further cyber attacks by WannaCry and other ransomware

In light of recent cyber attacks focused on global organizations through ransomware, EY is urging organizations worldwide to take immediate action and engage effective response measures to mitigate the effect of these attacks and help protect themselves against future attacks.

Petr Plecháček, Senior Manager of IT Advisory, EY Czech Republic, cautions: “The recent wave of cyberattacks is proof that cyber criminals are becoming more aggressive and using highly advanced tools to simultaneously target all kinds of interconnected organizations across the globe. The small number of attacks in the Czech Republic should not make us complacent. When we carry out security system and support infrastructure reviews, we often identify vulnerabilities like those that added to the massive impact of the recent virus. Attackers generally count on inadequate system security and rely on the inaction that comes from a lack of preparedness. Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a family-owned business, your risk of attack increases significantly if you fail to take computer security seriously.”

The risk of being attacked increases exponentially when preventative measures are not taken. Failure to take incident response equally seriously can mean the difference between hours and days versus weeks and months of system compromise and outage. There are six actions organizations can take now to help protect their systems, their most valuable assets and their customers, while mitigating against potential damage from emerging threats:

  1. Disconnect infected machines from the network and take all backups offline because they also could become encrypted if left connected to the network.
  2. Activate your incident response plan and don’t treat the investigation as merely an IT issue or exercise. Ensure there is cross-functional representation in the investigation team, including legal, compliance, information security, business, public relations, human resources and other departments.
  3. Identify and address vulnerabilities in your connected ecosystem; sufficiently install security updates, malware detection and anti-virus detection to complicate attackers’ efforts to get back in; enhance detection and response capabilities for future attacks; and prepare for eradication events.
  4. Ensure your systems are patched before powering up PCs.Keep systems up to date with a robust enterprise-level patch and vulnerability management program. This should include a formal, repeatable life cycle to manage vulnerabilities based on risks as they evolve, and a comprehensive asset model that focuses on the exposure of assets to these risks, including any connectivity to other assets.
  5. Activate business continuity plans. Prepare data based on varying requirements for regulatory reporting, insurance claim and dispute, litigation, threat intelligence and/or customer notification.
  6. Collect and preserve evidence in a forensically sound manner so that it is conducive to investigation, and reliable and usable in civil or regulatory matters.

Tomáš Kafka, Partner of Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services, EY Czech Republic, adds:“Malware outbreaks such as WannaCry require companies to respond in a comprehensive and defensible manner. Even after the data is restored, companies sometimes face allegations that sensitive personnel-related or other business information had been compromised in the ransomware attack. Third parties and other stakeholders may require the company to demonstrate forensically that, even if the data was accessed, it was not stolen.”

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