OPSA is a SAQA recognised professional body for all administrative professionals in South Africa

Techno Tuesday: Security – Ransomware

Viruses – Ransomware

No doubt you have been alerted to the new virus that has been taking place across the world recently.  If not, here is a summary: The ransomware scam uses a virus that blocks your computer and will only give you a special code or access to your PC if you pay money. Money is paid online (Bitcoins) and you have to respond quickly and pay quickly otherwise the price goes up. Just like any other kidnapping scenario – you PC and information gets kidnapped and you have to pay ransom.

I am by far no expert when it comes to viruses, except the kind that attacks my children in winter, but I have been alerted and I have decided to take precautions.  And so now I will share some of those precautions with you!

The biggest attack in history is the global ransomware attach called “WannaCry” and apparently it’s still affecting organizations in more than 150 countries.  Hospitals were hit the hardest but it did not stop there.   Anyone with a PC with Windows installed (the older version) were vulnerable.  A mean message appeared with the time ticking in the corner and payment had to be made within that time.

The most important thing you can do is to make sure you get your IT department to install the latest security software on your machine.  Perhaps go chat to them and get assurance that your machine is protected. 

The next thing you need to do is make sure your data is backed up. The rule of thumb for backing up is:

  1. One set of data on the server
  2. One set of data on an external drive
  3. One set of data on your PC
  4. One set of data in the cloud

So basically, if your PC explodes, you can get your data from the cloud and if the cloud or your server crashes, you have the info on your external or on on your PC. Hopefully that will never happen to you!

Always be conscious of what you are opening from your email and what the file extensions are on the documents that are sent to you. Be VERY careful of anything with a .EXE extension.  Even something like PDF.EXE is bad news.  Rather be paranoid and email your IT department if you are not sure and keep your data safe.  

Written for OPSA by Marié Mieny

Marié Mieny is an administrator within the School of IT at Monash South Africa (MSA).  She has been at MSA for 13 years of which 7 years have been in the School of IT

Marié has a reputation for revolutionising the mundane tasks she is given by using technology to make her very efficient and effective in her job. As a result her school is one of the top schools at MSA with a reputation of being highly organised and effective.

Marié has two honours degrees – one in Criminology and one in Psychology.  She plans on doing her Masters in the near future

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