As you may all be aware from the weekend’s news, there is a particularly nasty form of malware going around the world, that if it infects your systems, spreads rapidly and locks your files. It will then demand payment before unlocking them. This is known as Ransom-Ware.

We have been monitoring the outbreak and taking precautions on your behalf over the course of Friday and the weekend, and will continue to do so.

We constantly keep our clients’ systems updated and secure, and are happy that none of our clients have so far been infected, however, vigilance is key.

There are two main ways this attacks spreads.

Firstly, it can try to pass itself off as an attachment (Word file of ZIP file) within a seemingly innocent email. Please make sure all your staff know not to open attachments unless they are absolutely sure of the sender and they are expecting that attachment. Older machines running older operating systems, such as Windows XP, are particularly vulnerable. Richard will be calling clients with these machines directly to ensure that they are extra, extra vigilant.

Secondly, the attack can spread by attacking common routes into systems, such as remote desktop connections, file sharing ports, and such like and attempting to find users with easy to guess passwords.

On that front, we are locking down those common ports where possible. We do understand that some clients need these ports for business purposes and we will be working with you to try to see how we can make you safe without too much impact.

We also advise all clients to ensure that their staff have good, hard-to-guess passwords. You may wish to consider asking your staff to change passwords if they think they might be too easy to guess. A string of words, or a short sentence without the spaces, and a couple of numbers is one of the most secure passwords you can use.

We have updated all our client systems as recommended by Microsoft, though a few of the older ones need some manual work that is currently on-going. We will continue to update systems as Microsoft and others release fixes and added security throughout the coming days.

If any client has any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Duncan, Simon or Neil directly.