A major ransomware attack was unleashed worldwide on Friday, May 12, infecting at least 75,000 computers in 99 countries, according to preliminary reports. The ransomware locked computers and networks using file encryption software, and demanded payment by Bitcoin (a non-traceable crypto-currency) to release the data.
The attack typically enters through a phishing email and then spreads to other machines on the same network by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. Although Microsoft discovered the vulnerability and released a patch in March, many computer users do not regularly update their operating systems and may have missed the critical repair.
Businesses need to take special precautions when it comes to protecting their customers’ information. One of the BBB Standards for Trust is:
Safeguard Privacy: Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of consumers regarding the use of their information.
One of the ways businesses can safeguard privacy is by taking BBB’s “Five Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity” (bbb.org/cybersecurity).
Consumers can learn more about avoiding scams and fraud at bbb.org/scamtips.