IT directors everywhere are rethinking IT and file security after a punishing round of ransomware attacks that has felled hundreds of thousands of computers, crippled company operations around the world, and left security teams bracing for more cyberattacks.
As all the world knows by now, WannaCry and Petya used worms to exploit software vulnerabilities in older versions of Windows operating systems. WannaCry, which leveraged the EternalBlue exploit developed by the NSA, felled more than 230,000 computers in more than 150 countries and harmed large companies like FedEx, Honda, Renault, and Telefonica. Petya, which disabled major infrastructure providers in the Ukraine, among others, uses the same EternalBlue exploit but is more sophisticated and built for speed and scale, taking down networks swiftly. Some commentators are viewing the Petya family of attacks as acts of cyber war.
Even security experts take up to a month to install updates
Many ransomware problems can be attributed to errors in human behavior or decision making, including the decision to run outdated operating systems, failure to optimize automatic software updates, or reliance on individuals to install software in a timely manner. Recent research has revealed it takes software engineers an average of 24 days to install new patches versus 45 days for regular users.
More than 4 in 5 companies have experienced data leakage
Certainly, companies can get better about automating updates and patches and teaching users to adopt this important behavior. Yet the reality if that whether it’s WannaCry or Petya or any one of the myriad other cyber security attack forms, companies are bracing for a hit. In fact, 4 out of 5 companies already have been.
As IT directors strengthen network and application management, monitoring, and upgrades, they would do well to harden file security. More than 1 in 2 companies have had their data exfiltrated by malware or hackers.
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