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Don’t be held to ransom by your IT security
It is rare that IT news hits the headlines, but you can’t have missed the news over the summer about the Ransomware attacks that happened across the globe at the end of last week. The attack, which exploited a  aw in Microsoft software, led to cyber-attacks on 200,000 computers across the globe. Victims of
the attack included 48 NHS Trusts in England as well as Germany’s rail network Deutsche Bahn and the global FedEx network. The spread was limited in part by 22-year-old Marcus Hutchins, a researcher who ended up being an accidental hero as his tracking the spread of the virus helped to prevent it. There are concerns that systems remain vulnerable, however, and it’s important to keep this type of security at the top of your mind when managing your IT.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is the name for a speci c attack which prevents access to  les and demands a payment – essentially a ransom – for their return. Often the demands start small and if they are ignored, increase over time or threaten the destruction or sharing of valuable or sensitive  les.
How can you prevent attacks?
organisation. In many cases, staff training is as important as the technology.
Incorporate cyber-attacks into your disaster recovery strategy This latest threat may have been stopped for the most part, but in time, it is likely that another threat will arise from so-called “black hat” hackers. This is why it’s important that alongside protective measures to prevent an attack, you also prepare for the worst. A disaster recovery plan should include details of how to prevent the spread across
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the network, backup storage and data encryption.
We track the trends in cyber security to help our clients protect themselves. Not all of them hit
the headlines as this high pro le ransomware attack has done, because often they can be stopped before they do too much damage. If you want to make sure you don’t hit the headlines as a victim of ransomware or other malware, give us a call and we can audit your current set up and advise how you can protect yourself.
The extent of the spread of this
attack demonstrates that you
can’t entirely prevent attacks. A
determined hacker will at some
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...the professional journal for Management & Staff
November~December 2015
Independent Schools Magazine 31
point  nd a loophole in security and exploit it. However, there are measures you can take to limit the likelihood of an attack and the impact if it does occur.
Firstly, this might be a good time to have an audit of your current security precautions. This includes not only looking at whether your  rewalls and virus trackers are up to date and effective, but also looking at practices which may be making your network vulnerable. This includes considering how data is stored and shared across your

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