Experts from the NCSC offer guidance on dealing with a ransomware attack
Over the last six months, we have witnessed an unprecedented change in the way we live and work. As more and more of our lives move into the digital realm, we spend an increasing amount of time online.
Whilst this has had a great effect on the UK charity sector – enabling charities to continue running vital fundraising operations and service delivery – it has given rise to a new wave of cyber crime.
This change in the public’s digital behaviour has led to a change in the nature of cyber attacks, as well as a change in the way they are conducted. One of the key changes is the growing threat from ransomware attacks.
This is why NCSC have updated their mitigating malware and ransomware guidance to ensure that it reflects the changing nature of the incidents we are dealing with.
This guidance restates the main messages within the NCSC Small Charities Guide with a few notable changes.
Specifically, the NCSC have:
Whilst we recognise that not all charities have crack teams of security architects at their disposal, we believe this guidance provides an achievable set of actions that most organisations will be able to implement. For this reason, the NCSC have also included additional and updated references to resources, which will help you prepare and respond to malware attacks.
Malware attacks, in particular those utilising ransomware, can be devastating for organisations because computer systems are no longer available to use, and in some cases, data may never be recovered. If recovery is possible, it can take several weeks, but your charities reputation could take a lot longer to recover. This can have drastic knock-on consequences for your organisation’s fundraising and public relations campaigns.
The updated guidance and steps listed below will help your charity deal with the effects of malware (which includes ransomware). It provides actions to help organisations prevent a malware infection, but if you’ve already been infected with malware, please refer to the NCSC’s list of urgent steps to take
The four main mitigation steps can be summarised as follows:
Up-to-date backups are the most effective way of recovering from a ransomware attack.
Reduce the likelihood of malicious content reaching your devices through a combination of:
A ’defence in depth’ approach assumes that malware will reach your devices.
You should therefore take steps to prevent malware from running.
Identify your critical assets and determine the impact to these if they were affected by a malware attack.
Following the updated guidance and steps listed above will decrease the likelihood of your charity becoming infected, reduce the spread of malware throughout your organisation and minimise the impact of the infection.
By following these four steps you will give your organisation the best possible chance of mitigating the effects of a malware or ransomware attack.
Read more about the NCSC guidance