Security experts are declaring last week’s hacking incident to be the largest of its kind in history. The cyberattack – known as WannaCry – has infected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries. It targeted Windows Computer running Windows XP; the victims included FedEx, Nissan and the UK’s National Health Service. With the attack’s widespread damage across the globe, it is expected to have already inspired a wave of imitators.
Although Microsoft users are the primary victims of WannaCry, those with Apple and Android devices are also vulnerable to these types of attacks. Thus, it is wise for all types of users to take precautions.
So what can agents and brokers do to protect themselves – and their clients – from these types of attacks? Here are our top 10 tips:
- First and foremost, make sure to always update your devices’ software as soon as possible, and enable automatic updates.
- Use anti-virus software. Microsoft advises users to run its free anti-virus software for Windows.
- Be sure to back up your computer regularly to a drive that is disconnected from your network. Experts recommend making multiple back-ups; for example, use both an external hard drive as well as a cloud service.
- Tighten up your password security; consider subscribing to a reputable password manager.
- Change the factory admin password of your wireless router and hide the SSID.
- Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible; it makes it that much harder for hackers to access your software.
- Make sure to invest in business-grade equipment.
- Never open an attachment in an email from someone you don’t know. Even if you do know the sender, beware of compress or ZIP file attachments. For Windows users, enable the “show file” option so you can spot potentially malicious files.
- If you suspect a problem, disconnect your device immediately from the Internet or other network connections (such as a home WiFi).
- Educate your team. Create an office policy for cyber security and conduct audits to ensure there are no weak links.
Read more about Microsoft President Brad Smith’s take on last week’s cyberattack here.