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National Cyber Security Centre Advice

The NCSC has issued a set of guidelines for businesses and individuals who are concerned about ransomware attacks on their computer systems. These comprise:

  1. Updating all Windows operating systems
  2. Running and updating antivirus software
  3. Maintaining a safe backup of data

1. Updating Windows

If you use Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10, you should run Windows Update and apply all patches. If you are running older versions such as Windows XP or Vista, you should ideally upgrade to the latest, more secure operating system. Alternatively, you can download the free Microsoft WannaCry security update here.

2. Running Antivirus

Make sure your antivirus software is fully up to date and run a full scan of your system. The NSCS advise using the built in Windows malware protection tool Windows Defender in the absence of any third party antivirus programs. Please note that this will not work if you have already been infected by the WannaCry ransomware (please see below).

3. Backing Up Data

If you have a secure backup of all your data, you cannot be blackmailed with ransomware. You should however back up regularly and ensure that the copy is stored separately from your computer. Never leave backup devices permanently connected to the network as they may become infected themselves. You might want to consider using a Cloud storage service such as Microsoft Office 365 for small business or personal use. There are also free cloud and low priced options available for personal use such as Google Drive and Dropbox

What to do if your computer has been infected

  1. Immediately disconnect your computer from the network / Internet
  2. Whilst disconnected, run a full disk format or replace the drive
  3. Directly connect this computer to the Internet to install and run the latest version of Windows and software. Do not connect to the network whilst doing this.
  4. Install professional grade antivirus software, such Malwarebytes. Download all current updates and run.
  5. Reconnect to the network and continue to run and monitor your antivirus software on a daily basis.

Full details of all these procedures and further guidance can be obtained directly from the National Cyber Security Centre website.

We also offer a range of Cyber Security Awareness courses for employees through our partners at QA. You can read full details on their website. Please contact us for discounted prices on any of these courses.

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