Makes you WannaCry

Jane Chakravorty

Cybercrime is all too prevalent, and, like most crimes, it leaves you feeling angry, vulnerable and violated. And we know it’s on the rise and getting frighteningly sophisticated. For example, these days, a professional ransomware ‘provider’ will have its own customer service desk, ensuring that its client base will be able to expedite their demands as quickly as possible. It’s all a bit bonkers, really.

So, what can we do about it? Anti-virus, firewalls and regular system updates are considered the bare minimum these days. But what else? Here are a few aspects to consider:

Training: It’s us, the users. Why are we so fallible? Well, let’s answer a question with a question. When was the last time you received proper cybersecurity training? I don’t mean a company policy, a manual or a dos and don’ts. I mean proper, professional training and education.

The point I’m making is one about effective education through training. There are many security awareness training courses on the market and we recommend VIPRE Security Awareness Training Programme (SAT) with a year-round learning path, regular phishing simulations, an easy-to-manage enrolment process and insightful reporting. We’ve used it in-house, and it’s alarming how much I didn’t know.

Passwords: if you think you have been compromised in any way – a dodgy email from a ‘friend’, strange activity on your social media – whatever, change your passwords! It won’t matter if you replace your PC, change your broadband provider or chuck the whole lot in a bin. If hackers have got your password, they’ll have a backdoor into your accounts. We realise this can be a pain, so here are some measures to both ease the burden AND make you more secure:

• Use a password manager. Password managers are secure vaults full of all of your passwords. Most generate secure passwords automatically so you can just use that one and never even know the password (this also stops you from just using your child's/pets/partners name or birthday, yes I see you!). They increase your password security and eliminate password-related stress. Obvious side promotion here, our Cloud Storage solution has a password manager in-built.

• Use two-factor authentication. If you don’t, then sign up for it. Most apps offer this facility these days. This might be called 2FA or MFA, but either way it’s based around ‘something you have and something you know’. So the pain is taken away from having to remember a bonkers password as your security is supplemented by an SMS, or token from an authenticator app.

Our recommendations, therefore, are simple: make sure your people are educated to be better aware of scams through training and change ensure your passwords are strong and are changed if you feel anything is amiss.

One last tip, go to, type your email address(s) into the ‘pawned?’ Field. Scroll down and see the breaches your addresses were pwned in. If you’re still using those passwords, do change them as soon as possible.