Add Cybersecurity, Don't Try

Trust Me, You Don’t Wanna Cry

I’m guessing you’ve heard about WannaCry.

In case you have not, WannaCry is a ransomware that’s hit companies all across the world. A hacker takes advantage of a security loophole to encrypt all the data on your hard drive. Want it back? Pay a ransom for the decoder.

I was just talking about ransomware.

Large companies are particularly vulnerable to cybersecurity threats because many have older systems and software. Plus, the more people connected to a system, the larger the pool of people likely to open an infected file. Bruce Schneier has a good post on this. He also points out that it’s pretty easy to protect yourself by:

  • installing security updates immediately
  • using good anti-virus software (I use Webroot SecureAnywhere)
  • backing up your files

You’re doing all these things, right?

Whether it’s just you or you work for a large organization, data disruptions are costly and time-consuming. While you can’t protect against everything, you can take steps to minimize your risk.

Back up. Just backup now.

Back up the truck.

I have bad computer karma. Put a defective computer on a shelf, and I’ll take it home every time. My current desktop periodically misplaces the hard drive. (Seriously, I have had to reboot it up to 3x in a row before the operating system realizes that the hard drive exists and is just fine. And, occasionally, it has to sit a day before it cooperates.) I factory reset my smartphone twice recently for what turned out to be a false-positive “trojan” (virus) sighting.

This turns out to be good for me and my business.

I back up everything. Most of my files live in the cloud. I also periodically backup my cloud data to an external hard drive. My highly sensitive financial data isn’t housed on any Internet-connected device. Even my website has a secure firewall.

I also finally took my own advice and set up a password manager. (I’m using LastPass.) And I just ordered a pair of Yubikeys to add a strong layer of multifactor authentication. No more repeatable pattern passwords. Yeck, I don’t even know my passwords, and I’m okay with that.

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